- Step 1: Find the titles for the position you would like to research for your career change. Make a list of job titles for the type of career change you are seeking. You may research these at the library, ask a counselor, or check on the Web. For example, O*NET lists reported job titles for computer programmers: "Programmer Analyst, Programmer, Analyst Programmer, Computer Programmer, Software Developer, Applications Developer, Computer Programmer Analyst, Internet Programmer, Java Developer, Web Programmer." If you are considering a career change to a programmer position, you could use any of these that are applicable to your search.
- Step 2: Decide on your personal requirements for the position. To which cities are you willing to travel? What salary ranges will you consider? Are you available to travel or work nights and weekends? Do you have any restrictions from your physician that might need accommodation? What other requirements do you have? These requirements are the factors you will consider when analyzing the results of your career change research.
- Step 3: Locate a minimum of five job postings that meet your requirements. Actually, find as many as possible because you may be unable to reach some of your contacts. Some sites where you can locate postings include CareerBuilder, Monster, and Yahoo HotJobs. Indeed.com pulls listings from multiple sources. You can find additional postings on company Web sites, professional association sites, or local job banks. After you have collected the postings, research the telephone numbers of your targeted career change postings through a search engine.
- Step 4: Contact the employers and recruiters. Ask to speak to the recruiter or hiring manager for the particular position. Tell employers that you are considering a career change and would like to find out about local employers' hiring requirements for XYZ positions. To keep the pressure off the recruiters, explain that you are not applying for a position at this time; you are simply seeking general information before investing yourself in a career change. Some contacts will be happy to help, though others may hesitate, especially if the contacts are not knowledgeable about the particular position and have been told not to transfer calls. Once you reach a contact, ask the following questions as relevant: (1) What are the hiring requirements for the position? (2) Has the company ever hired a candidate from (insert the college or training program that you are considering)? (3) What are the physical demands for the position (if applicable)? (4) How many of these positions has the employer filled recently? (5) What are typical starting salaries for someone with the qualifications you would have at the time you plan to apply?
- Step 5: Analyze your results. Compare your own requirements with your results from your employer interviews. How do they match up? If they don't, are you willing to live with the differences? If you can find at least five positions for which you could be considered, you have good reason to believe that you could successfully make a career change into your chosen field at the present time.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your career change analysis, you will need to decide how you want to reframe your job search plans. Sometimes a change to a different state or region would result in a better market for the type of position you seek. If you are unable to target your job search so your results are satisfactory to you, you may want to consult with a career change counselor for other options.
If everything sounds good, then you have some assurance about your chosen career change. Either way, you will have gained greater insight into your chosen path.