A career change can be liberating. However, it can also be expensive once you factor in a potentially lower income and the cost of going back to school. Yet not all career changes have to involve classes. Depending on the career you want, you can gain valuable experience without paying a hefty sum for continuing education, and you might even make a little money while you're at it.
With a little work on the side, you can gain experience and find out how the career you're eyeing stacks up against your current job. Look for part-time jobs with flexible hours, or take on freelance projects to start building up a profile.
Believe it or not, interns aren't just college students. Companies of all kinds accept interns, depending on what you want to do. You might get stuck with grunt work, and it won't pay well (if at all), but a savvy intern who listens and learns will pick up experience that can lead to a much better job. Not all companies will be interested in hiring older interns, but many of them will say in a posting that they are interested in candidates of all ages. If the posting doesn't say, just call and ask before you send off a resume.
Many employers want to see a degree on your resume, particularly for specialized fields like nursing, but very little trumps pure experience that is backed up with results and references. Research what employers in your target career are looking for, and then build up the experience and turn yourself into what they want. Contact a local charity, or click here to visit serve.gov to find opportunities in your area. At the site, you can type in keywords for what interests you.
Working With A Mentor
Once you have been moonlighting, interning or volunteering, contact someone you admire within your chosen profession, and ask if they would act as a mentor for you. Not only can a mentor provide valuable advice, but, if she likes your work, she could serve as a reference when you start applying for jobs in your new career field.
Check out our career change guide to learn if a career change is right for you.
When writing a career change resume, it is smart to highlight the skills you already have that will transfer well into your new field. For that reason, you should prepare to give your old resume an overhaul.