Plan Your Career Change And Exit Before You Change Your Job

by Hank Coleman

One of the worst mistakes you can make in today’s economy is to leave your current job before you have secured your next one. There are far too many people currently looking for too little a number of jobs in today’s economy. While things are starting to get better, the estimates are that there are six job seekers out there looking for every one opening. You need to have a clear cut plan of action when you change your jobs. Too many people are leaving their current employer without a clear idea or game plan as to what they will immediately do for a new job. But, you can lay the groundwork in advance to help you transition seamlessly to a new job.

Consider these tips before you change your job

Earn New Degrees Or Certificates

climbing the corporate ladderNow is the perfect time to consider earning a new college degree, enroll in community college or online courses, or earn a certificate to help make you more marketable to future employers. There are now many certifications, most that can be earned even online, that you can earn in your career field or the new career you want to go to. For example, if you are a middle manager, maybe earning your Six Sigma belt certificate would make you even more marketable as you consider switching jobs.

Keep Your Resume Updated

One of the biggest mistakes that I have made is not keeping my resume up-to-date. It has been an absolute pain to try and add ten years worth of work history to the resume when it would have been easier to just add items as they occurred. You never know when the opportunity may present itself. Having an updated resume should be the last of your worries. If you have one updated, you can concentrate on other tasks such as preparing for your interview, etc.

Start Building Your Professional Network Now

The time to build up your professional network and contact list is not when you need a job. You should continually be adding to your network. You should have a mentor and mentor others as well. You should continue to stay in contact with people in your network that you can later tap for job leads. Networking is not all about needing something or getting something from someone. Networking is about helping each other grow professionally, and eventually a job offer may spring out of that. But, now is the time to build your network. It is too late to get one when you need it. Like your resume, you should be constantly updating your profile on LinkedIn.

Build Up Your Emergency Fund

There is hardly a greater time that you will need a solid emergency fund than we you begin to look for a new job. Most financial planners recommend having three to six months of expenses in a readily available account as an emergency fund. If you think that a job loss or a career change may be imminent, then you should build up your cash reserves to as large an amount as you possibly can in preparation of the career move and life change. It would not be unreasonable to have more than six months in an emergency fund in this case.

Don’t Switch Jobs Until You Land Next One

Above all else, do not quit your current job until you have found a new one if you can help it. In some cases, you may not be as fortunate. But, like selling your current home before you buy the next one, you should wait to quit your current job until after you have landed your next job. It is without a doubt safe that way.

Moving from one job to the next does not have to be as cataclysmic as many people make it out to be. With a little planning ahead of time, you can easily plan a smooth career change and an exit from your current job with very little headache and trouble.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Financial Samurai August 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

This is definitely a good idea to do.

Do you think it’s silly of me to plan 7-10 years in advance like I am now? I think I’m going to get a CFP btwn now and then, as I already have my MBA.

Hank Coleman August 8, 2010 at 11:49 am

I think that a long term plan is a great idea. Everyone should have a long term plan/goals that guide them. You, of course, can change it along the way, but you definitely should have a broad goal to aim at and an equally broad plan to get you there. Some goals need smaller goals along the way that must be accomplished that need to be started now.

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