by Lisa McGrimmon
When considering second careers many people make the mistake of assuming they'll have to abandon all of the momentum, skills and experience they've built up from their current profession and jump into something completely new and unrelated. While it is possible and sometimes necessary to make that kind of drastic change, a subtle shift can often be a better option.
If you choose a new path that is completely unrelated to your current profession, you will likely have to invest some significant time gaining skills and expereince in the new career. If you want to make a change now without investing significant time in preparing for that career, look at jobs and industries that are closely related to your current job.
Determine whether it's your entire career, or just your current employer that's not a good fit.
If you're feeling unhappy in your job, it many be your company, not your entire career that's the culprit. Take some time to assess the reasons why you're looking at second careers. If the reasons why you want to make a career change have more to do with your employer than your actual work, then you may not need to make a career change to feel fulfilled at work. Finding a similar job with a new employer may be a better solution.
Consider working at the same job, but in a different industry.
If you are certain it's not just your current employer that is causing your desire to change careers, perhaps it's your industry. The actual work you do may continue to be a good fit for you, but for any number of reasons, your industry my no longer fit. Depending on the type of work you do, you might be able to pursue the same job in a different industry.
This type of career change option allows you to maintain all of the benefits of the skills and experience you've developed in your carreer to date; you'll simply need to find ways of learning about and building a network of contacts in your new industry.
Consider working in the same industry, but in a different job.
Perhaps you enjoy the industry you work in, but your day to day tasks are no longer a good fit for you. In that case, moving into a new job in your current industry (perhaps even with your current employer if the opportunity arises) could be a good career change option. Depending on your industry and the new career you choose to pursue, you may need to obtain some additional training to achieve this type of career change. However, if you're already working in an industry that interests you, you may be able to take on new projects at your current job to gain that experience. Your employer may even pay for relevant training in your new area of interest if you can demonstrate that the company would benefit from the new skills you would acquire.
While you may want or need to pursue a career change option that is completely different from your current job and industry, it's not always necessary, and it's typically the most challenging type of career change to make. If you want to make a career change now, try looking at second careers that are related to your current career. This approach it typically a much easier and faster route to a new career.