Definitive 8-Step Career Change Checklist

Think you’re all set for your career change? Think again.

You've been pursuing the same career path for a while now and it just hasn't been as fulfilling as you thought it would be. Perhaps the thought of changing careers has crossed your mind. You might be psyched and ready for a change in your life, but are you really? Here are some less obvious but nonetheless important points to tick off on your career change checklist before you embark on this new journey.

Start networking
Career-related social media sites such as LinkedIn can be a goldmine of information if you know how to use them. You can glean valuable insights into the work culture of your intended industry by joining related groups, and find out if this field is something you would like to explore.

Look for a mentor or career counsellor
A trusted advisor can give you an objective viewpoint about your suitability and offer tips for improvement. Sign up with a recruitment agency that can help you scope out jobs to suit your capabilities as well as set you up with great career opportunities, rather than blindly surfing through the classifieds with no goal in sight.

Educate yourself
Education will equip you in understanding the new industry of your choice, and there are many online courses available. A great place to start is at the Robert Half's e-learning portal where you can access a wide range of training courses and information to be completed at your own pace. With the option to engage an online mentor and chat in discussion groups, that's three points on your career change checklist ticked off.

Get your family on board
Are you expecting another child anytime soon? Are your kids going through a major examination this year, thus needing extra tuition and guidance in their studies? Talk to your spouse about whether the family is ready to take on this big change.

Set money aside
Starting all over again can mean temporary job instability, as well as a loss of the benefits and bonuses which you may have accumulated over the years. It would be ideal to have a good savings plan that you can cash out in times of need. If not, aim to save enough to last you for at least 6 months. The Robert Half 2015 Salary guide can give you a good sense of the job market, and how much companies are willing to pay for candidates like yourself.

Get some hands-on experience
Internships and freelance projects will give you some experience so you can make a more informed decision about your suitability for your new career direction, as well as hit the ground running when you do take the plunge. It may be a blow to your ego to start off again as an intern, but consider this step if you know you'll have difficulty getting your foot in the door.

Hone all your skills
It's not just industry-specific skills that you need to master; try to work on other areas such as crisis management, presentation skills, time management, multi-tasking, and your relationships with your co-workers. These will improve your prowess in your current job, and will be a boost to your productivity wherever you go.

Enlist the aid of your manager
Leaving your current job can be difficult for everyone involved, especially if you've been in this position for a long time. Your boss can be a valuable ally for the road ahead, and it wouldn't hurt to have a recommendation letter playing up any strengths that you can use in your new career field.

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