Changing Careers So Soon After Graduation
Do you find yourself dreading the commute to work in the mornings? Do you feel like the work you’re doing isn’t fulfilling or interesting, even though you majored in this very subject? While the prospect of a career change so early in your life can be scary, it may be worth it for your future success.
A job change requires an investment of time and possibly money. But if you’re unsatisfied and are looking for a new career, making the decision now is the first step toward the rest of your life.
Here are some things to consider as you think about changing jobs to a new field or industry.
If You’re a Recent Grad
Although your recently acquired undergraduate or master’s degree might make you feel like you should stick out your new career, the fact is, if you know you want to do something different, there may not be any reason to postpone a job change.
One thing to be wary of, however, is ending up with a resume full of short stints. You could be perceived as a “job hopper”—and companies may not want to commit to you if they don’t think you’ll commit to them. But if you feel strongly that there is another field calling your name, or you just know your current one is a bad fit, it’s probably still worth considering a change.
One thing not to worry about is that your degree will “go to waste.” The skills and knowledge you gained in college and grad school can be an asset wherever you choose to take them.
Ask yourself what your passions are. Then look at how your capabilities can fit into a sector you are passionate about. Use your past experience to decide what you can do in the future.
For example, if you have an English degree and are interested in a career in tech, but don’t have programming experience, consider looking for marketing jobs within tech companies.
After a few years, you can try to make a job change into a more tech-focused role. In the meantime, you’ll build up your general knowledge about this new sector while being gainfully employed.
Another tactic for career change is to look for a job in a similar field that could be a stepping stone to the one you have your eye on. If your MBA prepares you for a career in business management, but you want to work for a hedge fund, consider looking for jobs at a multinational bank that also does wealth management.
Use your current know-how to get a job at a company whose overall mission you admire. The key is to think about where the company could take you in two years rather than considering just the job on the table.
Common Career Switches
Here are a few fairly common career jumps and how professionals may manage the transition.
Journalism to Public Relations
Journalism is one of the lowest paying professions—and the competition and stress are high. With newspapers and magazines struggling, journalists are turning to other careers. According to a recent study , for every reporter there are six public relations professionals, and, on average, those in PR make $16,000 more a year than the journalists.
Law to … Anything
The cost of a law degree may inspire grads to answer the siren call of corporate law. If they’re interested in another path, however, those with a J.D. have many diverse career path options—some more lucrative than others.
Many law school graduates still do take their hard-earned degrees and go into fields like journalism, politics, or nonprofit sector work. The legal training helps build an analytical mind, to say nothing of their speed-reading skills.
In particular, a governmental job—either in politics, advocacy, or even aid work—can be a good fit for a former lawyer. These positions often require you to manage multiple projects and pay attention to the finest detail while coordinating with multiple people or agencies, all with differing goals.
If politics or journalism don’t sound appealing, another fluid career change for lawyers could be a move into business. If you’re practicing corporate law, for example, you are likely learning the in’s and out’s of a specific industry.
More Job Prospects
Teaching, especially in public school systems, can be difficult but often very rewarding. Though it may depend on what kind of teacher you want to be—elementary school, high school, or community college—the people and organizational skills you’ve learned at your current job may still be applicable.
Nursing is a profession that never goes out of style. In fact, employment of registered nurses is expected to increase by 15% until 2026. So if you’re worried that your career change might not be practical, rest assured that there will most likely be a need in the nursing field for years to come.
Information Technology jobs are booming in the United States right now, and if you make the switch, you may be able to find a job fairly quickly. It may require additional education, training, and expenses, but the average median salary for an IT Project Manager is around $85,000 a year.
Drawing a Financial Picture
For some, the biggest fear around a career change can be the potential pay cut. Start by doing your research: look up expected salaries and do a hard compare and contrast between all your options.
As you build experience in your new career, you might have to take a pay cut initially, but you also might end up earning more down the road. If one of your worries in your current career is potential job burnout, a reduction in salary might be worth it if you feel like your quality of life would be higher. However it shakes out, make sure you are prepared, so that you’re less likely to regret your decisions.
Also, if you run the numbers and find that it would be too difficult to live off of a lower salary, you can try to accelerate your savings so you have some extra padding when you switch jobs. You may also want to look at ways to pay off your student loans early, so you have more financial flexibility.
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