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Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Careers

Questions to Ask Yourself When Changing Careers

Carol Tice | PayScale

October 12, 2010

3. Get advice. If you can’t afford a private career coach, Ryan says, get free career counseling at state unemployment offices or community college job-placement departments. Another option may be your alumni association, says Bussin. “If people call me but they don’t have the money for a career coach,” Bussin says, “I say, ‘Go back to your school.’”

4. Retrain. Getting training for your new career is vital, says Ryan. Because the job market is more competitive, you need to show prospective employers you’ve made a serious effort to learn their industry. Explore whether you might beef up your qualifications through a Webinar, online course or industry seminar. “You need to fill in the blanks yourself,” she says. “Go get the training, whether it’s another degree, specialized coursework, online classes, or computer classes.”

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Depending on your field, community and technical colleges may well be one of the lowest-cost places to get job training, Ryan notes. Trade or industry associations may also offer some affordable training options.

5. Be realistic. Starting over in a new field takes time. But investing in education can be a positive alternative to a disheartening job-hunt while strengthening your chances of making the jump to a new career.

Be sure to investigate whether average salaries in your proposed new career will support the lifestyle you want. If you’ve been a regional sales manager making $86,417a year and you’re thinking about becoming an elementary school teacher $44,856 or plumber $42,184 instead, you’ll be taking a substantial earnings hit.

“A lot of people go through career change and then realize the new career pays $50,000 a year less, and they put the brakes on,” Brussin says. “You have to think about what the price is for your happiness.”

Business writer Carol Tice is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur, The Seattle Times and other major publications. Contact her at

Source: All salary data is from The salaries listed are median, annual salaries for full-time workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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