Aricia LaFrance – How do you go about a career change?

Aricia LaFrance

Considering a move into a different field of work can be so daunting that people often quit before they even get started.  Here are a few ideas from career coach and marketing strategist Aricia LaFrance, MSE to help you get moving in the right direction:

1) Identify the real problem – do you really want out of your field or just your job? Is it the type of work you’re doing, where you’re doing it or who you’re doing it with? A lot of people have gone to the expense of getting into an entirely different field to realize they love their old field of work – it’s just that they didn’t like their boss or co-workers.

2) If you do decide to switch fields, before you leap – talk with people working in your dream job.  Ask not only what they love about their work, but also what drives them crazy.  If those things wouldn’t bother you, that’s great but they may be the very things you dislike about what you’re doing right now. The survival part of our brain can trick us into falling into the same patterns.

3) Create a list of the values most important to you. Do you hate getting up first thing in the morning? Do you love working with others but dislike working alone? Do you prefer long hours or do you need a career where you’ll have more free time? What do you need in the way of salary? Consider everything you’re hoping for in your new field.

4) Find somewhere that you can shadow someone working in your ideal job and then take them out to lunch as a thank you. Be sure to ask questions about the values important to you regarding this new field. Use that list you put together. We can often be so distracted by our own assumptions that we forget to check them out.

5) Consult with the Occupational Outlook Handbook outline to see if your new field is growing or shrinking and which aspect of the field is most in demand.

6) Check into apprenticing or interning – even if you’re older – to begin creating a new network. These are the people who can help you make connections to get into a different field.

7) When you’re ready to switch over, cull from skills and experiences and the education you already have. List every job – paid or volunteer – you’ve ever had. Look up job descriptions of the field you’d like to move into. Scan through your list to see where you have the strengths desired by employers in this new field. This becomes the foundation of your new resume.


Aricia E. LaFrance is the author of “Unlocking the Secrets of the Successful Career Seeker” (available at She serves on the advisory board of Career Director’s International and recently spoke at the National Career Development Association international conference on The Psychology of the Aha Moment. She is a psychotherapist and marketing strategist with a master’s degree in educational psychology.

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