If you’re thinking about changing careers, you’re definitely not alone. The pandemic has prompted many professionals to reflect on their current career path and consider new avenues. And as the recovery and job market continue to gain more positive momentum, many workers are thinking the moment for them to change course is near, if not now.
But what if you’re confident you want to make a career move but aren’t quite sure which way to turn? The following three steps — including working with an employment agency — can help you find the direction you need to make a successful career change:
Step 1: Pinpoint the why for changing careers
There may be several factors fueling your desire to pursue a different career track. But try to hone in on one or two core reasons you feel a strong need for change. That insight will inform the baseline strategy for your job search and help guide you toward what you really want.
For example, do you feel stuck professionally? Many professionals do right now. A Robert Half survey found that more than one-third of U.S. workers (38%) believe their career has stalled out since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The percentage is significantly higher (66%) for professionals between the ages of 18 and 24.
See an infographic featuring an overview of Robert Half’s survey results here.
Many respondents pointed to factors such as the lack of salary growth and the inability to advance their career with their current employer as a root cause for feeling stuck.
For many, another motivation for planning a career move is a desire to engage in more meaningful work. One in three professionals in the survey who said they were thinking about changing careers noted that the pandemic had changed their perspective about their current job. As a result, they’re now seeking a more fulfilling career path.
If you’re still uncertain about the why for changing careers, try asking yourself these two questions:
- When was the last time I felt inspired by and proud of my work?
- What do I really like to do most, both professionally and personally?
Your answers are likely to be very enlightening — and may even take your new career search in an unexpected direction. For example, you may discover that you actually like the type of work you do, in general, but would prefer to make your mark in a different industry instead.
Step 2: Assess your skills, experience and potential
Once you have a better sense of why and where you want to pursue a new career track, the next step is to evaluate whether you have the right skills and experience to reach your desired destination.
To make that determination, start reviewing job ads to find out what employers seek in candidates for the roles that interest you most. Also, ask trusted contacts in your network for their thoughts on the professional strengths and weaknesses you have that could impact your ability to switch careers.
Another consideration when deciding how to change careers is your potential to grow your abilities quickly, if needed. If you require additional training to launch your new career successfully, you may find some employers are willing to train promising candidates for certain roles. However, you may need to pursue learning on your own time, such as through online courses, before you can launch your new job search.
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Step 3: Consider working with an employment agency
Another option for charting your new career path is to tap the expertise of an employment agency. These resources are known by other names as well — like a recruiter, search firm or staffing firm. Robert Half, for example, is a talent solutions firm.
The professionals who work for a reputable employment agency can:
- Offer tailored tips and advice on how to change careers
- Share industry-specific information, including details on market trends and in-demand skills
- Bubble up job opportunities that may pique your interest
- Provide job interview tips and resume guidance
- Present your qualifications to potential employers
When you have a better sense of how you want to change careers, employment agency professionals can assist in connecting you with work and educational opportunities that can help you build transferable skills and gain experience in your new area of focus.
Tips for choosing and working with an employment agency
The basic rules for finding the right employment agency for your needs are what you might expect: Do your homework and look for a resource that specializes in the industry you’re targeting.
Review the firm’s website and learn about its reputation within your chosen field. Take a critical look at the employment agency’s operations, and request specifics about its process for placing job candidates.
Once you’ve identified a resource you’d like to work with, how should you reach out? There are two ways: You can respond to a specific job posting, or simply register as a potential candidate who is open to a variety of opportunities with client companies.
The employment agency’s team members can provide valuable insight on how you can change careers by giving you specifics about available positions, potential employers in your chosen career and industry, and relevant trends in the job market. They can also assess your suitability for open roles.
What else can you do to help the process?
Before you engage an expert resource to be your guide on how to change careers, make sure you’re fully committed to the journey. Your relationship with an employment agency will be far more productive if you also have a good sense of the general direction you want to take.
Also, be aware of compensation trends in your industry and local market, so that you can approach new career opportunities with reasonable expectations.
Even if you’re not 100% sure what type of job you’re after, go into a meeting with a talent solutions specialist with a strong grasp of your skills and talents — and a clear motivation for changing careers. (See Steps 1 and 2!) The more assured you are about your career objectives and what type of job and organizational culture you seek, the better able an employment agency will be to help you.
Engaging with an employment agency will be an even more productive experience if you’ve already taken a few steps down your desired path — for example, by earning an in-demand credential. If you have at least some of the skills and certifications you need to make your desired career move, the agency will be more successful at connecting you with potential employers.
Feeling confident about making a career change? Send us your resume today, so our talent solutions specialists can determine how Robert Half might assist you in achieving your professional goals.