Laurel Learning Tip #291: Making a Career Switch #1

In this week’s Tip, we begin a look at resources to help folks who are considering making a career switch.

According to a study commissioned by the AARP Public Policy Institute, older employees who changed career paths were happy with their choice. Of the 1,705 workers AARP tracked for more than a decade to study how they coped with career change, 91 percent said they were happy with their new jobs, compared to 79 percent who said they were happy in their old jobs. Reduced stress and flexible work schedules were among the reasons older workers handled career changes well.

As you think about a new career, there are a number of ways you can approach it. Whether you are currently employed, retired, or recently laid off, you can:

• look for a similar job in a new organization.
• look for a different job that uses similar skill sets.
• look for a completely different new job.
• gain experience in a new career through internships or volunteer work.
• go the educational route.
• start your own business.

In addition to the very effective approach of networking with family, friends, professional organizations, and on-line social media, there are many on-line resources to assist you in each of these endeavors.

If you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up:

• is a site for when you want to figure out what to do with the rest of your life.

provides information for transitioning workers who wish to explore career prospects. This site explains the educational preparation requirements for several careers, including public safety, marketing, transportation, construction, biotechnology, and advanced manufacturing. You can also find information on apprenticeship opportunities and community colleges. The Career Compass helps you find careers that match your interests and personality.

provides direct links to a Career Resource Library with career exploration and job search tools. It also provides a Skills Profiler that allows individuals to assess their skills. You can identify occupations that use your current skills and find gaps that need to be filled.

• offers the reputable Campbell Interest and Skill Survey.

• is an award winning site that includes advice to career switchers.

• is an on-line resource from the Bureau of Labor Statistics with insights on hundreds of jobs and their earning potential. The site has summaries of what tasks workers perform in different occupations and their working conditions, along with descriptions of the training and education needed to fill these jobs.

• allows you to research opportunities for transferring your skills between related occupations. Users may enter an occupational term in the search box to get information about occupation information, occupation licenses, and certifications.

Next week, we will continue our look at resources to help folks who are considering making a career switch and know the job they want.

May your learning be sweet.

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