Change to a New Career

Looking for a New Career? Hop on the Learning Curve

It’s rare now that people pick one career and stick with it for 30 or 40 years. Why? New technologies make some jobs obsolete – who takes shorthand any more? Industries shift – how many automotive workers have been displaced in the last 20 years?

And many people are physically not able to do the same job as they age. Think of your favorite baseball player: the average Major League Baseball career is just 5.6 years.

At the same time, new industries and careers are constantly emerging, driven by mega-trends, technology and advances in social media, health care, the environment and other areas. For example, green industries and clean technologies are expected to boom in the next decade.

So it comes as no surprise that most of us will have several different careers during our lifetimes. As a result, we have to be on a perpetual learning curve, acquiring new knowledge and skills all the time. Gone are the days when we went to school, learned what we needed to and stopped learning when we landed a job.

Switching careers requires an even greater commitment to learning and growing, and at a much-accelerated pace. It may be a steep learning curve but it’s worth it if you find a career you are passionate about (for help finding the career that’s right for you, take the free MAPP career test, available at

These six tips will help you quickly hop on the learning curve and a path to your new career: 

  1. Dedicate a set amount of time every day or week to study your future job or industry.
  2. Access the wealth of online information about that job or industry. Become familiar with the “insider” vocabulary of the people in that area. Find out what issues are important to them and what challenges their industries are facing.
  3. News changes fast – subscribe to industry-related blogs and news sources to stay on top of industry trends, find out who the players are and discover where the job opportunities are expected to grow.
  4. Join job- or industry-related organizations and online groups. Follow or participate in the discussions, so your name gets known.
  5. Look at formal education options – seminars, conferences, degree programs. Descriptions of degree programs will tell you exactly what kind of training is expected for someone entering that industry.
  6. Once you’re up to speed, start networking with people who are working in that job or industry. You’ll be able to ask intelligent questions and speak knowledgeably with them. Stay in touch so they’ll think of you when a job opens up that fits your skills.

To learn what you are truly motivated to do, take the MAPP Career Test