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Is it easy to change your career path?

Once you're doing a certain job how easy or difficult is it to change that? I'm afraid of making a mistake. Is it common for people to change their career path? Do you have to start over every time you change jobs? If I'm not sure what career to pursue, what do you recommend I do for my major in college?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Steve’s Answer

This is a great question. Yes you can always change your career path! The important thing is to find out what you like to do and then focus on that first. When I went college the first time, it was not for the industry I am in now. But, during one of the courses, I become more interested in computers. Then after being in industry for a while, I went back to finish my degree. So, sometimes it may take a while to find what you really like to do. That is OK. Some colleges offer great co-op programs, like Drexel University. This can allow you to experience a few different employers and perhaps discover something you did not know that existed.


Good luck!!

Thank you comment icon It is very common not to know what you want your major to be. People come to me every day to explore options. Don't be afraid to declare a major and then change it later. However, be willing to do some research and sign up for an internship or job shadowing experience. That way you can "try out" a career before accepting a full-time position following graduation. Most importantly, what is the true passion in your life? What do you want to wake up every morning and have fun doing? Also, consider some career assessment tools such as the Strong Interest Inventory to confirm your choices. Good luck! Margaret Nichols
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Amy’s Answer

When you're choosing a subject to study at college I think it is really important to think about what subject you enjoy. Enjoying the subject that you are studying will make it more likely that you will be motivated and enthusiastic and do well. This may also lead you towards a career that you will enjoy, throughout your time at college you will meet and hear of people who have studied the same subject and learn about the different jobs they went on to do. I wouldn't worry about changing your mind when it comes to a career-path, this happens very often and there are ways around this. Very often employers are looking at the skills you have gained from doing a college degree rather than the subject. I would recommend researching the different careers you are interested in-depth and trying some volunteering and work-shadowing in those fields. Good luck with everything!

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Katt’s Answer

First, a LOT of people change their careers. It's not unusual at all and the decision to change doesn't even always come from discontent with their first choice, but just a desire to grow and expand.


As far as how hard is it to change paths, that'll depend on how drastic of a change it is. For example if you start as a lawyer and then want to become a veterinarian, you're going to need to go back to school and learn a whole new set of skills and knowledge. On the other hand, if you start out your career as a graphic designer and want to move into UX/UI design, then the learning curve is much smaller.


Deciding on a career is a very personal thing. It's going to depend on what your interests are. What your inherent skills are. How much time do you want to spend in school. Do you want to go into the corporate world. Or are you leaning more towards entrepreneurship.

Thank you comment icon Thank you so much Katt! I definitely don't want to spend a lot of years in school, and I'm not sure on corporate vs. entrepreneurship... What do you recommend I try out first? Stacy
Thank you comment icon I think the first place you have to start is what makes you happy? What do you enjoy? Animals? Food? Children? Do you like to work as part of a team? Are you more of a leader? Do you want to be in the arts? Are you better at math? Science? Try talking to a counselor at school. Or look for mentoring options online. Check out http://www.mentoring.org/get-involved/find-a-mentor/ They are a national association of mentors. Talking to someone about options can help to narrow your decision. And don't worry about making the wrong decision. Most colleges wont make you declare immediately. Katt Katsumi
Thank you comment icon You can even try out some internships as a HS student. Look here: http://www.internships.com/high-school And once you're in college, DEFINITELY look for internships. If you're uncertain go out there and try things out. Volunteer with different organizations. Katt Katsumi
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Ryan’s Answer

Finding a career isn't easy and the average person has 7 different jobs before they find their career passion. It's okay if you don't know what you want to do, but learn something from every experience and find out what your passions are. Also, find a mentor who is successful in something you're interested in and offer to buy them a coffee and chat. The money you spend on the coffee is worth the insight you'll gain and most likely they will buy the coffee any way!

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Sarah’s Answer

Yes, you can change careers. Changing careers can be easier at the beginning of your work life. AND it is possible to do later on in your working career as well. It is all about knowing what skills are necessary in another field.


If you are already in one career, and want to get into another career, talk to people in that new career, find out what skills you need to get into that field. Does it require more education, a certificate or a specific degree? Are the skills you already have transferrable?


For example, If you want to get into management, then volunteer at a school, political campaign, church or non-profit to gain some management of people experiences. Find out if you are good at it by doing it more than once. If project management is important in that new career, volunteer to run a project in your current work place.


Good luck!

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Wael’s Answer

I don't want to pressure you, but it isn't easy to say the least. I have been trying to switch my career from a field in automotive/mechanical engineering to another in automotive/mechanical engineering for over a year with no success so far.

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Sophie’s Answer

Although it depends on what careers you are switching in and out of, it is relatively easy! It is probably harder to go from a PR firm to a career as a doctor. However, with hard work, good professional and personal connections, and some luck anything is possible. Remember that you only live one life, and you must make the most of it! Do what you love!
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Ken’s Answer

Hi Stacy!


Changing majors and career areas can be a very difficult, expensive, and time consuming process. So, it is very important for you to get to know yourself well before committing yourself to a career direction.


Talking to your favorite teachers and seeing what careers they see you fitting into will help. They many times can introduce you to people in various careers, so that you you can get to know the career from the inside.


The head of the alumni relations department of your school can introduce you to graduates of your school working in various career areas to allow you to learn more about careers.


The more of this prep work that you can do will help you to decide on an appropriate career.


Send thank you notes to those who help you. Please keep me posted. I would like to help further if I can.

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