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A New Year…Time for a New Career? 5 TIPS

Just a couple days ago—December 31, 2014—I took my mom to our local hospital for a scheduled CT scan. I remember thinking to myself, “New Year’s Eve!?! She’s got an appointment on New Year’s Eve!?!

Student studying

My grumblings were completely set aside when we met a nurse working in the medical imaging department. She greeted my mother like she was family. Conscientious of her mobility and breathing issues, she slowly escorted my mom to the change room so she could put on the customary hospital gown, all the way assuring her to take her time. Asking my mother about her ailments, the nurse demonstrated the most perfect balance of concern and respect for privacy, while maintaining an upbeat, positive atmosphere.

I came to one confident conclusion. On this final day of the year, this nurse really loved her job and she was perfectly suited to her chosen healthcare profession.

The New Year is more than just making those resolutions of losing 10 or 15 pounds, community service or spending more time with family.

It can be seen as a clean slate—a chance or yearning for an even more fulfilling life.

Maybe you’ve been thinking for some time you’d like to CHANGE CAREERS or start your very first CAREER.

Just like keeping those smaller New Year’s Resolutions, making a career change can be difficult, but it is definitely worth the potential rewards, such as increased financial stability and quality of life. Plus it may not be as difficult as you think. Here are some tips on making your professional fantasy a reality.

1. Assess Your Desire for Change

It’s important not to rush into something new but to take time to understand why you want to change careers and what that profession should be. Think about what you like and do not like about your current situation and the changes you would like to make.

Healthcare is the country’s fastest growing field. Over 7 million new job openings will be available by 2016.”

Source: Virtual Career Network-Healthcare https://www.vcn.org/health-care

“Take a good look at your values, interests, personality, and skills (sometimes shortened as VIPS),” stated Linda Spencer, the Harvard Extension School’s career advising coordinator, on HarvardExtensionHub. “These are just pieces of the puzzle. You have to find the common themes and threads—and they can change over time. But the bottom line is: if you’re not interested in something, it won’t work.” Spencer recommended using personality, interest and skill assessment tools like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, My Career Story, a workbook by Mark L. Savickas and Paul J. Hartung, the “ISEEK Skills Assessment” and CareerOneStop’s “Skills Profiler.”

2. Do Your Homework

Once you have a better handle on who you are and what you want to become, learn as much as you can about the career you are striving for. This means researching job descriptions and opportunities online, reading articles or books on the career, checking out authoritative sources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook (keeping in mind statistics and projections vary by region) and talking to people already working in the field. If you can swing it, seek out opportunities where you can volunteer or job shadow to get a real sense of the career.

3. Set a Series of Specific Goals

Rather than only setting  one overarching goal—like “I want to become a sonographer or a nurse or chef or accountant or…”—determine a series of specific smaller steps that can help you reach that goal. And as you continue to learn, figuring out the sequence of steps will become clearer. “If your goal is to change positions in 2015, don’t just write ‘Get a new job’ on your to-do list,” Kathryn Tuggle wrote recently for MainStreet, based on advice from Accountemps’ district president Bill Driscoll. “Instead, schedule time each week to revise your resume, research job opportunities and set up meetings …”

4. “It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint”

If you’re particularly pumped to change careers, naturally you want it to happen NOW. But all great things take time, including a career change. For example, if you need to advance your education, numerous colleges and universities offer online and part time programs, so you can continue working your day job. Even shorter skill-specific courses and certificate programs may be all you need to get your foot in the door. But if you have lots on your plate, you may need to consider how much you can fit in your schedule. There is nothing wrong with taking one course at a time.

5. Regularly Work on Your Career Change

In one of her Forbes articles, Kerry Hannon, the author of the book What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job, wrote “Do something every day to work toward your goal.” Regular perseverance towards your career change—and not worrying about that perfect starting point—makes attaining your professional aspirations much more realistic.

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