I was seven months pregnant with my second child and unhappy at my job. The work left me unfulfilled and disengaged, and I no longer wanted to pursue my current field of human resources.

Working while having young children is hard enough but if you are frustrated and unsatisfied at work, it can lead to a very stressful home life. My family life was suffering and I knew I needed to make a change.

What I learned was that I was not alone. Many people end up with careers different from what they studied in college. Life happens. Priorities change. According to Careers-Advice Online, the average person will make a career change about five to seven times during their working years.

Even when you’re motivated to make a career move, it’s hard to know where to start. One of the best options is a career center because they offer a variety of services for people looking to start anew.

If you’re unsure what field you’d like to pursue, a personality assessment can offer some suggestions. If you like working with people, consider counseling. If math is your passion, look into accounting. If computers float your boat, contemplate a career in information technology.

Once you have a direction, you can start exploring specific options. Here are some tips to help you move forward.

  • Research – Read up on careers that might interest you. Be sure to check out salary, job availability and educational requirements to make sure all your expectations will be met.  Some helpful websites:

Gateway to Careers
O*net online
Bureau of Labor and Statistics

  • Use your network – Look into your current network of contacts to see if they know anyone in your field of choice. LinkedIn is a great resource to get and stay connected.  The Jewish Community Services Career Center offers clients ‘How to’ workshops for LinkedIn.
  • Informational Interviewing – If the employer you want to work for doesn’t have any current openings, ask to schedule an appointment anyway. This allows you to learn more about a particular company, while putting yourself out there with little or no pressure. Sometimes you can get advice or learn from someone else’s experience.
  • Job Shadowing – This is a great way to see if you really want to pursue this new job before you take the plunge. Through job shadowing, you are able to see what a typical day is like and what types of daily tasks you work on.
  • Volunteering – Offering your services for free shows a potential employer that you are dedicated and might be a good fit for the company. Not only will you gain valuable experience but if a position opens up, you might get moved to the top of the list.

It’s important to remember that changing career fields is a big step. It doesn’t happen overnight.  Allow the process to play out to ensure the new profession is everything you thought it would be.

I have been a career coach at JCS for over four years, and I still recommend these tips for my clients when discussing a career transition. It took me over a year to land my new position, as a career coach at JCS. I can definitely say it’s been worth the wait.

Jaclyn AdesJaclyn Ades is a career coach for the JCS Career Center. JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and care giving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors.

To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.