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Take these steps if you’re looking to make a career change

Time and money can get in the way of a career move, but by taking some small actions, you can make it happen.

Take these steps if you’re looking to make a career change
[Photo: Flickr user Nestor Lacle]
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While the popular adage is true, sometimes the time spend and money send can get in the way of truly following a new path. With technology, making a career change (within reason) has never been easier. Using tools like LinkedIn, Udemy, and, yes, even YouTube, you can learn the skills of a trade and connect with the masters within it.

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Use these steps to learn how to gather the skills, resources, and connections to make a meaningful career move within months (without incurring another wave of student debt!).

Assess your current job and your skill

Maybe you hate your current job. Maybe you’re simply nonplussed with the day-to-day work and you want something more. Maybe you actually like the function of your job, but dislike your current company. Whatever it is, make sure to identify the why of your desired career move before you take action.

From there, asses your best skills along with your passions. Perhaps you’ve been drafting press releases or doing ad hoc social media work for your current company. Maybe you’ve done a little graphic work as needed outside of your otherwise administrative roles. Assess your interests and relative experience in order to determine your desired career direction.


Related: I used design thinking to reinvent my career–here’s why it worked 


Activate your connections

So you want to be a graphic designer? Awesome! You know those LinkedIn connections you made in college; the friend of a friend of a former coworker?

Rifle through these connections. You might be surprised what you find hiding in your own LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends. Speaking of friends, speak to them, too. More often than not, someone will know someone who is open to talk to you. Reach out to see if they’d be willing to meet with you. While they might not have a job hot and ready, it’s a perfect opportunity to ask a few questions over a coffee.

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Related: 7 steps to rebrand yourself for a career change 


Take a class

Unless you’re looking to become an anesthesiologist or a trial attorney, you can likely build your skill set without applying to graduate school.

There are boundless opportunities to learn things on the internet (we rounded a ton of them up here). Resources like Udemy, Coursera, and Alison offer hundreds of free classes–you can learn anything from project management to web design.

Even if you’re not looking to change your career (why are you reading this?) you should take advantage of these free classes. Heck, we all should learn about probabilistic graphical models because, why not?


Related: 5 books to read when you’re considering making a big change 


Send some cold emails

This is my personal favorite thing to do, so approach with wary pessimism if you must. Once you have a clear idea of the position you want and type of company you’d like to work for, considering reaching out to the employees there. A personalized, well-researched cold email can be the perfect way to garner a new relationship.

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You don’t have to come in too hot, revealing that you went 80 weeks deep into a CEO’s Instagram, but you can express a knowledgeable, thoughtful sentence or two. In addition, lay out your interest in the company and inquire as to whether they will be hiring for *your role* in the near future. If you see a gap in the team roster, you might even suggest the need for *your role* and why.

Consider sending out a few cold emails to your dream companies that might hold your dream future job. You can even reach out to employees at your dream company using LinkedIn. At best, you will manifest a miraculous job opening in your field. At worst, you will receive no reply.


This article originally appeared on Career Contessa and is reprinted with permission.