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February 17, 2015
How to Retrain and Change Your Career
It's safe to say that during the last few years, radical changes in the global economy inspired quite a few interesting trends in job markets. One of them is a growing interest in career transitions. Even when facing high unemployment rates, workers today are often willing to change the course of their careers. Retraining might become a part of the process, and knowing when and how to retrain is crucial for a smooth career transition. Here are four tips on how to retrain and successfully change your career track.
1. Research the market
Before you start to consider retaining, you need to know which skills are in demand by your target sector. If you're thinking about marketing, you must be able to define it precisely — are you interested in digital marketing? That's great, but which aspect of digital marketing do you find most attractive?
Once you define your target career, you can position yourself against it — your experience, qualifications, skills, contacts, and languages. Some skills might make you a unique and highly attractive candidate in specific marketing careers. If you're a web designer with a strong UX background, many digital marketing teams would be happy to hire you.
2. Assess yourself
Before you rush into a radical career decision, weigh your options carefully and make sure you fit the required candidate profile. Ask yourself what you're willing to do to change your career — knowing your motivation will help you brush aside any negative thoughts.
Still, you need to be realistic. Ask yourself if your character will suit your desired career track. Talking to people who are already part of the industry is crucial to gaining this knowledge. Finally, ask yourself this question: What will the sector allow me to do on the basis of the work I've done before? Face it – past choices will limit your future career options.
3. Leverage your network
Browse through your acquaintances in the social networks to see whether there are any marketers among them. If so, ask them about your potential in the industry. They're insiders, but remember that the way in which they assess your qualifications might be biased by their current workplace culture.
Another important point is to contact recruiters with whom you have interacted before; for instance, those responsible for your past hires. If you represent a niche, there's a chance recruiters specialize only in your sector, but maybe they could refer you to a friend who recruits for PR, marketing, and other similar areas.
4. Consider training options
Finally, after doing your homework, you're ready to consider retraining. Experts suggest not to rush into it. It's more than possible that you already have some required skills. If there are qualifications that are indispensable to your target sector, see how you can acquire them.
If your dream job requires practical skills, consider internships or volunteering. Leading a busy lifestyle, you might consider online learning a viable option to get credentials required for the job. You can tailor your study schedule to your lifestyle, studying whenever you choose to — at night, on the weekends, or even on the bus on the way to work. Studying online is also a great option for people who don’t want to commute, for those who love to work remotely, or those who have kids at home.
In today's shaky economy, every career transition is a risk and therefore requires a lot of research, preparation, and self-reflection. If you're willing to face this challenge anyway, you might already possess desired character traits that will make you a great marketer!

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Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.
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