By Heather Huhman
You've finally landed an entry-level job in your "dream career." Awesome, right? Unfortunately, not for everyone. Whether you realize your dream career requires more working hours than you're willing to dedicate or the tasks you're delegated are uninteresting or just plain jarring, having a change of heart about your career path doesn't have to be the end of the world.
It's possible to switch dream careers and keep your already established personal brand intact. Here are a few tips on how to switch career objectives without harming your personal brand:
1. Never stop being professional.
Just because you've decided to take on a different course of action doesn't mean professionalism should be tossed to the wayside. Keep your social media posts professional as you would during the job search or if you had a boss who admittedly stalks employees profiles. Additionally, if you don't lock down a new job immediately, it's important that you maintain a standard of behavior that is professional and won't lessen your credibility.
2. Continue working after giving notice.
After deciding to part ways with a job that turned out to be less desirable than you'd initially thought it'd be and giving written notice to your boss, it's important to keep working diligently. Continue creating daily to-do lists and putting in effort. Giving notice isn't a license to slack, which could be detrimental to your reputation. You'll want recommendations from your boss and co-workers, so you should continue working as if nothing has changed. If time permits, create a document that explains all of your tasks and how to complete them that can be used to train your replacement.
3. Update your career objectives on your online profiles.
To effectively switch career paths, you must continue managing your online presence and update your career-related online profiles and personal website with your new career objectives. Update your LinkedIn summary and online resume with a detailed description of the new career path you've decided on and be sure to note the skills you've learned from your previous position that are transferable.
4. Develop expertise in your new career field.
Changing the focus of your career doesn't necessarily mean you should run out and get another degree. There are plenty of ways to develop the expertise you need to successfully switch careers and maintain a personal brand that employers will respond to. Attend an industry conference, go to networking events put on by professional associations in your career field of choice, and consider getting a certificate in the field since this takes much less time than pursuing a two or four-year degree.
While it may be a bit discouraging to realize that the career path you've dreamed of since before you could imagine isn't all you'd hyped it up to be, you can bounce back and maintain a personal brand that potential employers and industry professionals respect.
Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of "Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting From Classroom to Cubicle" (2011), "#ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career From Classroom to Cubicle" (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.
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