10 Ways to Test the Waters Before Diving Into a New Career

The alarm blares as you struggle to blink open your eyes for another routine morning. You’ll head into the same job you’ve worked at in the same old industry for the last 20 or more years. It used to be your passion, but now it’s just bland. You often feel empty and spend your day dreaming of something more than just a paycheck.Sound familiar? If so, it might be time for a career change.

Mid-life career switches are common, of course, but it’s important to avoid doing anything in haste. Before jumping ship, consider the financial implications, training requirements and how a potential failure would impact your future.

Even after careful thinking, experts agree it’s best to test the waters to ensure blazing a fresh path is indeed your destiny. You’d hate to go full force in a new direction only to discover you despise the new route.

Fortunately, these 10 ideas allow you to explore a career change without letting go of your current career, allowing you to have a safety net while discovering your true passion.

1. Find a mentor

A professional in the industry is a great resource for learning more about a new career path. Try to meet regularly for coffee, lunch or phone conversations.

2. Join industry groups

Surround yourself with the people in your intended field and you’ll learn a ton. The easiest way to do this is to join industry groups and attend events.

3. Network

Good old-fashioned networking introduces you to people who work in your intended field, which in turn helps you learn more about what you like and what you don’t. Start on LinkedIn and go from there.

4. Take a class

Learn more and build your skill set by taking a class. You could choose a college course, professional training or a community education class.

5. Embrace the Internet

Tutorial websites, both free and subscription-based, exist for virtually any industry. These help you learn skills and understand different careers in a short time.

6. Start part-time

Try keeping your full-time job and working part-time in the field you’d like to pursue. For example, start an internship or apprenticeship and make a few bucks while learning more.

7. Volunteer

No part-time jobs? Volunteering is a great alternative. You’ll get experience and expand your resume.

8. Read industry publications

Stay up to date on industry happenings by reading journals and blogs. Do you have an insatiable thirst for this new info or do you get bored? The answer will help direct your future decisions.

9. Job shadow

Reach out to a professional in your intended field and see if you could job-shadow for a day, allowing you to learn what that person does day in and day out.

10. Work with a career coach

By working with a career coach from GetFive, you not only get expert guidance and insight into a new career, you’ll build confidence knowing you’re making the right choice. They’ll help you easily navigate a career change.

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