Are you interested in starting a new career this year? Perhaps you want to earn more money, have different interests, or just want to try something new.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2015 and 2016, more than 6 million people decided to change occupations. This research was done before the pandemic, which has allowed even more people to explore different career opportunities.

Upgrading your career poses many benefits. According to LinkedIn, benefits include career advancement and an updated skill set. Additionally, changing careers benefits your mental health. These positive changes include less stress and a better working environment.

However, before you jump into a career change, consider these 5 tips to ensure a successful and smooth transition.

1. Assess interests

First, a starting point for changing your career this year is assessing your interests. It is important to understand what is behind your desire to make a change. One reason you may be considering upgrading your career is that you are no longer passionate about it or perhaps there is no longer room to grow in the field.

Nonetheless, it is important to take a step back and reflect on your current career. What do you like it about? Deciding what you enjoy from your past career can help determine what to look for in a new career. For example, you may like the work culture or your day-to-day tasks.

In addition, what do you dislike? For example, your interests may not align with the company that you work for. Considering what you dislike helps determine what you should avoid when job searching.

Figuring out what you are interested in and not interested in is the first step to determining how to upgrade your career. This assessment helps you identify jobs or even companies you may be interested in. Additionally, knowing your interests will make searching for a job much easier. You will also be able to know what to keep an eye out for in job searching.

2. Reflect on your skills

Next, an important step to upgrade your career is to assess your skills. Reflect on your past education and other positions and determine the skills you can bring to a new career. For example, a helpful way to do this is to update your resume to showcase your experiences and skills. Upon doing so, match your skills to the new career or field you are interested in. When looking at job positions, you see what skills you are missing to fulfill specific roles.

Additionally, do research on what skills are desired for your new career path and compare that with the skills you already have. Do not be discouraged when upgrading your career about not having the right skill set. For example, you may be surprised at your transferable skills. You can market the skills and experiences you already have to fulfill a new position.

However, if you are missing skills or qualifications in your desired field, it is the perfect opportunity to upgrade your skillset. If you are not qualified for your dream career, start working towards it. For example, you may need to take classes or go back to school to upgrade your credentials. You can also gain skills through volunteering, freelancing, internships, and more.

Additionally, Macomb/ St. Clair Michigan Works! offers on-the-job training for job seekers. If you are looking to boost your skillset, on-the-job training allows you to earn while you learn. In addition, M/SC MW! also offers classroom training. If you are lacking transferable skills, classroom training updates skills and education to aid you in a career change.

3. Explore careers

The next step is researching the industry or field you are interested in. As upgrading your career is a big change, it is essential to know the industry. Performing career research provides you with key information to help you pick the right path. Research helps reveal salary ranges, hiring outlooks, and any additional requirements. For example, The Bureau of Labor Statistics employment projections program can help you identify careers projected to have increasing job openings.

In addition to exploring a new career, read about your industry to stay updated. Utilize sources such as magazines, news websites, and blogs. Being educated on your new career path gives you the chance to propel your new career into success.

Research also goes beyond looking online and reading blogs. In addition to online research, visit a workplace and learn from existing professionals. Visiting a work location directly teaches you more about working in the field. For example, having an internship or entry level position allows you to experience the workplace firsthand. Job shadowing is also an option to see what the work life is in a new career path.

Learning from those in your target career path is also effective research. If you know anyone who works in a career path you are considering, reach out and ask them about their experiences. This avenue allows you to get a firsthand impression of what it is like working in the field.

4. Expand your network

Networking is one of the most important assets when upgrading your career. Networking is as simple as starting at your current job. For example, there may be a coworker whose job you are interested in. Networking a great way to explore a different field as well as building connections. Reaching out to your current network leads to advice in the field and or new connections. Networking also is not limited to coworkers, your friends and family may be able to point you in the right direction as well.

If you do not have a strong network, there are ways to build one. Indeed recommends joining social media platforms, attending workshops, and sending check-in emails. To further build your network, attend industry events. This is a perfect opportunity to build a network in your target career path.

Once you build your network, let them know you are looking at a new career path. Someone you know may reach out to you about an opportunity or may know another person in your target industry. Do not be afraid to ask for advice about your new career, as a contact can provide you with helpful guidance.

5. Check out local resources

Do not be discouraged about the idea of upgrading your career. Local resources such as Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works! can help you change career paths. Our highly trained staff will be with you every step of the way from career exploration, job searching, or elevating your skills.

If you are looking for additional resources and guidance, M/SC MW! can upgrade you from a good job to a great job. Here, we identify jobs that will provide you with satisfaction.

At M/SC MW! we understand that upgrading your career can be an exciting yet daunting experience. Luckily, we make it easy for you to find your next opportunity. We have online sources for you that can assess your interests to determine your next career path. M/SC MW! also ensures your success for the future by setting career goals. Developing goals are a great way to develop a pathway for your new career.

We can even find training and education opportunities for you. Do not let a lack of skills turn you away from your dream job. Because at M/SC MW!, we determine your needs and find options to increase your skills. Training experiences include classroom training and on-the-job training.

If you are in need of further guidance, check out our job seeker page to get started.