If You're Thinking About a Career Change, Take This 1 Step Before You Do Anything Else

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Eva Steortz864
Disney Executive Turned Executive Coach
April 17, 2024 at 7:31PM UTC

Everyone deserves a career they love.

Research indicates that most of us spend one-third of our life working. That’s a lot. Even more reason to take control and ensure we’re investing our time in something that we find fulfilling.

Some of us are re-evaluating our priorities after the unexpected events during the last couple of years. We should all take this opportunity to pause, reflect and consider opportunities to improve how we spend our valuable time. 

If you are considering making a big career change, what do you think your first step should be? 

Just like every career-related question, the answer is to prioritize networking.

Reaching out to other people is ALWAYS the right answer and an important first step when considering any change. 

3 Reasons Why You Should Network Before You Change Careers

1. You’ll gather valuable insights and information.

Talking to people doing what you’re dreaming about doing is the best way to get the most critical information you need. You can Google and get lots of practical information. However, what about emotional considerations and personal insights? You need people for that. With LinkedIn, it’s pretty easy to search and find people just by typing in job titles and companies.

Write out questions to be efficient before you start networking. You will find people are happy to share their stories. Some questions to consider are: What made you choose this field? How did you get started? What skills are critical? What is a typical day like? What challenges do you face? How do you overcome them? What’s your favorite part of this career? What do you wish was different?

2. You’ll add more connections to your network. 

Always remember to ask people who else they recommend you reach out to for further connections. This is an easy and efficient way to expand your new circle. You’re going to want to meet as many people as you can in your new field of interest. Everyone is sure to add important insights and considerations. 

Expanding your network means more information as well as people who know that you are looking for new opportunities. LinkedIn research suggests that 85% of open jobs are filled through networking — another reason networking must be your priority when seeking to change careers. 

3. You get to take a trial run of your new career.

As you are meeting people and creating a new network, start looking for opportunities to try on your new career. That’s right — you can take a test drive before committing. You want to get a real-world sense of what this new career would be like for you. 

Ask people how you can be of service while learning more about your new career interest. Offer to volunteer. Offer to do some research to support a new project. Ask to shadow people on a project offering some behind-the-scenes help. These are quick ways for you to determine if that area is for you or in my case, just not a good fit.

In summary

You spend way too much of your life working not to work on creating a career and life you love.

If you’re not loving your job, do something about it. Switching careers may be an interesting opportunity for you. Take control and know you have the power to make big changes. You can and should take action to maximize your career potential as well as your career enjoyment. 

And before you make the leap, networking is a very good investment of your time and focus. Networking is a great way to learn, meet a whole new circle of professional connections and find opportunities to try a new profession so you can ensure it’s right for you.

Have fun creating the happy fulfilling career and life you deserve.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

What’s your no. 1 piece of career change advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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