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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

3 Different Ways to Kick Off Your Career Change (When You're Not Sure What's Next)

Switching careers can be exciting, but it can also be completely overwhelming. Trust me, I’ve been there. In fact, I’ve been there many times. My first job out of college was at a marketing and public relations agency. I learned a lot there, but ultimately decided that an agency wasn’t the right long-term fit for me. So I then moved to a tech company where I worked as an analyst and became exposed to product and business development (which I loved). After that I started my own company (staying in the technology field), before moving on to work at a high-growth startup.

To recap, in the course of eight years I worked at an agency, a large tech corporation, a small startup, and a high growth startup. Reading back over these sentences it’s crazy even to me how many jumps I’ve made since college.

Through my own career changes, I’ve learned that coming up with a plan and utilizing the incredible amount of resources online can make a big, positive difference when you actually decide to make the leap. Here are some of my favorite resources, listed from 100% free to a little bit pricier.

1. Check Out All the Resources

If you don’t feel like you’re in a position to spend money on your career, but you really do want to make a big switch, never fear, there are some awesome free resources out there. For example:

Read Articles

Yes, this one seems a bit basic, but there’s so much awesome advice out there at your googling fingertips. Such as this article that lists several questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering making a big change or this one on figuring out what you’re good at (and not just passionate about).

Listen to Podcasts

Not a big reader? That’s OK. Luckily for you, there’s a podcast out there for everyone these days—and no shortage of ones related to careers. A personal favorite is The Big Payoff. It’s a weekly show that deals with the intersection of work and life and all the twists and turns in today’s new workplace environment. The producers of the show are big fans of finding a career that you love, which, in turn, makes me a big fan of theirs. Another one that gets rave reviews is The James Altucher Show, it not only includes interviews with awesome, impressive, successful people—but is also guaranteed to make you laugh hard and think creatively.

Follow People You Admire

And, finally, you should also consider finding some great career writers to follow or industry experts you trust. Some simple Google searches for “advice on X industry” will help you discover popular people who are well worth following on social media. If you want a headstart, check out this list of the top 75 career experts to follow on Twitter and the top Pulse writers to check out on LinkedIn. Many of these folks also have email lists on their site that you can sign up for if you want to receive consistent tips in your inbox to peruse at your leisure.

2. Take an Online Class

There are so many courses out there designed to help you figure out what kind of position you’d excel in, and then help you formulate a plan of attack for obtaining that dream job. They range from “very affordable to “you might have to start packing your lunch for awhile.” These three are a great place to start:

Career Hacking: $35

This course is super practical and also super affordable. The instructor walks you through how to identify a job you’ll love so that you can live your happiest life. It’ll also teach you tips for obtaining that dream career, including how to edit your resume to portray yourself in the best possible light and how to ask for a raise or negotiate your salary.

Cracking the Creativity Code: $79

While designed specifically for entrepreneurs, this course is great for anyone who wants to think creatively. And, in my opinion, thinking creatively is crucial when you’re thinking about mapping out your own career path (especially if it includes a big change). This course is awesome because, while it does cost money, you can preview some of the videos for free to figure out if it’s right for you.

The 80/20 Guide to Finding a Job You Love: $1997

This is a free video resource that focuses on finding a position you love. After you watch this video, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a course called “Find Your Dream Job” that (while very pricey) could be totally worth it if you’re looking for more direction.

You’ll learn how to identify your passion, tap into your natural network, find unlisted jobs, nail the interview, and negotiate your salary so you get paid what you’re worth. Since I know it’ s a big commitment, you really should check out the free video first and then consider if the course makes sense for you.

3. Speak to a Career Coach

There’s a lot you can do on your own to build your career and get to where you want to be. But sometimes, you come up against a challenge in which it’s worth it to ask for help. There’s no shame in that, and more often than not, if you ask the right person, it really will be worth it.

Here are a few places to begin:

Job Search Strategy Session: $79 to $450

If you think you know what career or industry you want to switch into, but need some help coming up with a plan for how you’ll tackle the transition, this is one to consider.

The Stuck in a Rut Package: $169 to $899.

If you know you don’t like your current career but aren’t sure what the next best step would be, it might be worth investing in a package. This one includes three conversations with a coach so he or she can get to know you and help you pinpoint the right path to go down. And if you you book the three sessions all at once, you get a 5% discount.

The Ultimate Job Search Kit: $379 to $1699

This package is the mother of all career coaching packages. You can select a coach who is an ideal fit for you. Then he or she will help you throughout the course of your career change, including developing a job search strategy, helping you edit both your resume and your LinkedIn to properly present yourself, and assisting you in interview prep.

Making a career change can be daunting but if you’re going after a field you’re truly passionate about, it will be so worth it in the end. After all, what’s better than waking up every day to do something you love?

Photo of person standing courtesy of Pablo López Learte/EyeEm/Getty Images.