Maybe you are working in an industry that is becoming obsolete, or you have become bored with your daily routine. Maybe your view of the world has changed, and you want to move into a career with a future that fits in with your values.
According to the latest Department of Labor statistics, most workers in the labor force right now will change careers 5 to 7 times during their working life. By age 42, you may have had about ten different jobs, and there’s a good chance that you may end up working in a completely different field altogether.
In any event, it will probably mean that you need additional education and training or maybe to get another degree entirely.
Are you thinking it would be difficult to change your career or major right now? Think again! It is not only possible, but it is also easier than you expect. It just takes a little planning.
Dedra Cobb, senior academic adviser in the WVU School of Nursing, says there are many things to take into consideration if you decide to change your career.
“The most important factor to consider is how much time you have and how dedicated you are to switching careers,” she says. “However, if you are not happy in your current situation there is nothing wrong with exploring different opportunities. I suggest reaching out and talking to the experts in the area.”
Cobb is someone who changed her own career path. She holds a master’s degree Criminal Justice, but along the way she also found that she loves working with students.
“I am now an adviser,” she says. “I love advising students! Because I changed my own career, I am a firm believer that everyone can have a positive outcome, depending on how hard they are willing to work to achieve their goals.”
“The first question for students still in school should be ‘Are you enjoying your major-specific classes?’ I would also recommend that a student try job shadowing, volunteering, or interning in the area they are interested in. They may also want to interview someone who works in the field.”
Alex Jarvis, former graduate online student success advisor in WVU’s Reed College of Media, says you can determine if a career is a good fit for you by thinking of three things: 1) What are my long-term career goals? 2) Is this major aligned with those goals? 3) Am I enjoying working on this major, and the courses required?
“If the answers are yes, then stick with your major,” he says. “But, if the answers are no or maybe, reach out to your adviser and talk about your options. We are here to help students find what is best for them, even if that means switching majors or careers.”
Susan Maczko, program director in WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics, agrees that you can determine if a major is the correct fit for you by how well you are engaged in the classes.
“For example, are most of the classes in your major too difficult, or are only one or two more difficult? If you do not like most of the courses in your major, it probably is not the correct major for you.”
If you are considering a career change, or changing your major – even if you are far along in it–consider these tips from our WVU Online advisers to start thinking about making your future the best it can be:
Tip #1: Follow Your Passion
“Make sure that this is the best route for you. Pick a career that is going to bring you joy. If you are not finding joy in the courses you are taking, or successfully passing your courses, this is usually an indication that the major may not be a good fit for you.” – Damia Dobbs, Developmental Advising Specialist, WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics
“My advice is to think about the career field, both now and later,” says Jenny Fuller. “Write down your life priorities (work/life balance, money, vacation time, travel, etc.) and see if the major aligns with those personal priorities.”
“In addition to this, write out your professional and personal goals and see if any of the elective options you have available to you will help achieve those goals. You can use an elective to step outside your comfort zones!”
“For example, you may be not be interested in the construction field, but you might find after taking a construction elective course that it is interesting. Even if you don’t go into construction, the information is still valuable.”
Fuller also works with students to find good employment.
“Advising plays a role in this because I send out job announcements regularly, organize information sessions with various companies from various industries, invite guest speakers to discuss various employment fields with students, and facilitate a mentorship program,” she says.
“I work with students to determine what constitutes a ‘good’ fit. To determine if a specific type of job will fit a student, I have them write out personal priorities and goals to keep them centered during the job search. Many of our students have multiple job offers and it helps a student to know their own worth and personal values.”
Ready to get started? Need more information? Check out the resources below.