Looking for a Career Change? How to Set New Career Goals in the New Year

by Tobin Perry

Are you looking for a career change? You’re definitely not alone. While job satisfaction has been on the rise the last few years, it seems many of us aren’t working in roles that inspire us to our full potential. During 2018, the Gallup organization polled a random sample of 30,628 full- and part-time U.S. employees and found that only 34 percent were actively engaged in their jobs.

With a new year on the horizon, this is a great time to begin planning a new professional path. If you’re looking for a career change in the next 12 months, here are four tips to get you started.

1. First, Think It Through

Just because you’re not fully engaged at work doesn’t mean you need to make a complete career change. It is a big decision—one that requires lots of deliberation—so make sure it’s really what you’re looking to do. Give yourself time to get to the bottom of what has you yearning for a change.

You may like your career field but don’t feel that you’re being challenged enough, or see room for growth. As you’re planning your next step, consider getting a master’s degree in your current field. A master’s degree can lead to new opportunities that satisfy the itch you have for something new without having to start over in a whole new field. Fortunately, there are numerous master’s degree programs that offer a variety of graduate-level opportunities.

2. Take Stock of Your Experience and Skills

Remember, you likely have more abilities than you realize! If you decide a career change is the right next move for you, sit down with a piece of paper and make two columns. On one side, jot down some skills you’ve used in previous jobs. Be exhaustive. On the other side, write down some skills you don’t currently have, but would like to learn more about. Keep this list handy as you explore new careers.

You can also find a variety of self-assessment tools online that could be a valuable part of this process. Usually, these self-assessments will let you gauge your interests, skills, and personality, and then suggest matching careers. Take some time to explore these options.

3. Get Input from People Who Know You and Your Potential

Let’s be honest. Self-assessments can only take you so far. You need to have people who care about you weigh in, as well!

Of course, this may include your parents, your spouse, and other trusted people in your life, but don’t stop there. You likely have former coworkers and longtime friends who know your strengths and weaknesses and can provide you with great input (and perspective) on future career changes.

4. Consider a Mid-Career Master’s Degree

As you self-assess and talk with others about a potential career change, you may discover that you need more training to make the switch to a new field. A master’s degree may be the ideal way to retool your skill set mid-career.

Many master’s degree programs don’t require you to have an undergraduate degree in the same discipline. For example, the Entry-level Master’s in Nursing program at Azusa Pacific University provides a great option for students looking to make a career change later in life. The program is specifically designed for individuals without previous education in nursing or health care.

Meanwhile, APU’s master’s in leadership program gives people who are mid-career an opportunity to cultivate leadership skills to help people and organizations flourish. Because students take evening courses that meet one day a week or online during eight-week terms, it’s an ideal solution for professionals going back to school while keeping a full-time job.

If you’re looking to switch to or advance in a business-related field, APU’s Master of Business Management may be an ideal fit. This degree program also welcomes students with undergraduate degrees from other disciplines—and can be completed in as little as 12 months.

Thinking about pursuing a graduate degree at Azusa Pacific University in the new year? Explore available programs and apply today.