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Individuals change jobs for many reasons, including greater professional satisfaction, money or a change of location. The financial experts at The Balance say that people change jobs more frequently than many people may think, noting today's average worker changes jobs 12 times during his or her career.
It is not uncommon for workers to change careers several times in a lifetime. The notion that the job a person starts out in directly after graduation is the one that he or she will have for the rest of his or her life — or at the very least, several years — is no longer the norm. Many younger workers migrate between jobs for greater compensation and fulfillment. Older workers, too, are faced with career stagnation. A survey from the University of Phoenix School of Business found 59 percent of working adults say they're interested in taking the leap of a midlife career change.
Once the idea for a career change has been planted in a person's mind, he or she may be anxious to jump right in. However, career coaches and other experts say that it is better to take the transition slowly and confirm that changing careers is truly the path to take. Finding the right time for the transition is equally important. These steps can help professionals as they decide if the time is right to change careers.
• Research the job market. Look into the industries for the field you are considering. Is it the right time for success in this field? Industries tend to ebb and flow. Do not leave a job only to find the next career has few, if any, openings. Job growth projections are available through resources like the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• Assess your likes and dislikes. Another area of consideration is what you like to do. Leaving a job may be based around finding a career that caters to your interests. Make a list of the types of careers you find appealing. To get help, take a career assessment quiz online.
• Don't choose a career based on salary alone. Monster.com says that being financially strategic when choosing a new career is important, but shouldn't be the only factor. Your personal values, experience and other factors such as family should weigh heavily into your decision as well.
• Use your network. The notion that "it's not what you know, but who you know" has some truth to it. Successful job-seekers continually expand their professional contacts. This is achieved by going to informational interviews, attending trade association meetings and reviewing trade publications. Target people who work at the companies where you see yourself, so you can get the inside track about job openings.
• Get new skills. Learn which skills you have that are transferrable to a new career and which ones you may need to acquire. Take a course or two or sign up for training seminars. Don't immediately assume you need to return to school before investigating other, less costly avenues.
Changing jobs and careers takes effort, but the results can be worth it in the long run.