5 tips for switching career paths

Here are five tips that will help you jump from one career path to another while minimizing setbacks.

Wanting to change your career path is normal, especially when you're just starting out in the workforce. According to statistics from Pennsylvania State University, 75 percent of college students change their major at least once during their higher education, and this is often because they're not sure what they want to pursue. Similarly, you may not know what professional path you want to take until you're thrown into a job you don't like.

However, changing careers at any point in your life can be tricky. You could face pay cuts, grueling interviews and many unanswered applications. Here are five tips that will help you jump from one career path to another while minimizing setbacks.

1. Start with research
It's important to know what you're getting into when you set your sights on a new career path. Start your transition with some serious research. You'll want to look into the basic qualifications of entry-level positions, necessary certifications and skills, average salaries, industry hiring trends and more. When you may have a well-rounded view of the industry you're trying to break into, you'll be able to make the most of every cover letter, phone call and interview.

"Highlight your relevant experiences and how they would translate into your new career."

2. Refine your cover letter and resume
It probably goes without saying that the resume and cover letter you used to get a job in marketing won't work when you're seeking a position in banking. However, you shouldn't underestimate the importance of refining your documents.

Take the time to carefully craft a tailored resume and cover letter for each position you apply for. Highlight your relevant experiences and explain how your skills would translate into your new career. This step is essential if the connection between your experience and the position you're seeking isn't clear.

3. Have realistic goals
Chances are that you're not going to walk into a new career and make more money than you did before. Set realistic salary goals for yourself during the transition, and weigh the long-term benefits of any position you're offered. A well-paying temp position may not seem ideal, but if there's a good chance it could turn into a full-time job in six months, it might be worth considering.

Don't be afraid to leverage your connections.

4. Use your professional network
If you're having trouble getting job interviews in your new industry, this may be a good time to tap into your professional network. Any connection - a friend, family member or former colleague - who works in the industry may be able to help you get a foot in the door. Be polite and respectful when you reach out to a connection. You shouldn't expect them to score you a job interview - instead, simply ask if they have any advice or connections you could contact.

5. Leverage your enthusiasm
What you lack in terms of skills and experience you can somewhat make up for with passion and enthusiasm. When you're practicing your elevator pitch, make sure to incorporate why you're looking to switch careers and what makes you think this new path is the right one. Many interviewers will appreciate your enthusiasm and genuine interest in the position, and this could translate into an opportunity to prove yourself.

Changing careers probably won't be a smooth or glitch-free transition, but it will be worth the effort to get onto a professional path that you're excited and passionate about.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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