Changing Careers - Do You Have to Start Over?

John Dir

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Sometimes changes that take place in the workforce require a change in direction for your career. If the type of job you have traditionally performed is no longer being sought by employers, you will have to face the problem of changing your entire career focus.

When this happens, many people feel like they have to start at the bottom and work their way up the ladder again from nothing. In many cases, it may be necessary for you to consider starting in some position that does pay less than your current one, but many job skills are transferable to other positions that pay equally well or higher than your present vocation. The trick in career changing is to research alternative fields that utilize similar skills to the ones you have already acquired.

Take the time needed to research alternative career paths, and do a self assessment to see how many of the skills required for other careers you already possess. Changing career directions can be very challenging, but can also offer an opportunity for self improvement and advancement. Begin the process by trying to think of fields related to your present job. For example, if you are a truck driver who can no longer manage the demands of being on the road, you can look for a new career in a more stable environment. Your knowledge of the industry can help you find work in support areas of the trucking industry, perhaps working as manager of a truck stop, or finding a job in a trucking company that handles the logistics end of load delivery and pick up.

Simply because you can no longer get behind the wheel of a rig yourself, this does not mean you cannot apply the knowledge you have gained to helping those who can. Perhaps you can explore working in shipping and receiving at a company warehouse. There are a variety of credit organizations who issue fueling cards that might be able to use someone with expertise in state fuel taxes and tariffs. All you need to start generating leads is to broaden the scope of your role as a driver.

If you find yourself running into the barrier of being “over qualified” for alternative positions you are interested in doing, do not allow yourself to be blinded by the level of your past accomplishments. Focus your talents on the potential at hand, and eliminate qualifications that disqualify you from consideration. If necessary, manipulate your previous job descriptions to provide a logical transition toward your current interests. If you must settle for a downward transition, focus your communications to indicate that you want to consider taking a step back from your previous level of accomplishments, and focus on working at something more in line with where you want to be at this stage of your career. Do not provide prospective employers an $80,000 resume for a $30,000 position. Trim your resume to meet the level of requirements for the position you are targeting.

Changing career paths requires creativity, persistence, and intestinal fortitude. Your main goal is to convince the potential employer they will not be hiring an unhappy, disgruntled, liability rather than an able, enthusiastic asset who is willing to work beyond their station for the benefit of the company. As with any position, employers will hire people who are eager to pursue available opportunity. Show them you want what they have to offer, and that you welcome the change of pace.

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