Career Change Checklist

Starting over in a new career field is an exciting, overwhelming prospect. Usually, the consideration of a career change begins with daydreams, research, and consideration of the pros and cons. But when the time finally comes to act on your instinct and chase your dreams, all that thinking and planning doesn’t easily translate into action.

We created this career change checklist to help you begin, as well as to keep you on track during the process of training and finding a new job. By keeping this guidance in mind, you can navigate the uncertainty and achieve your goal.

Checklist to Prepare for a Career Change

  • Unpack Your Motivations: As you consider launching a new career, it’s important to evaluate why you want to seek not only a new job, but a new industry. While the decision to change careers is usually rooted in emotion and personal desire, it’s important to make sure research and evaluation support the decision. Carrying out something as drastic as a career change due to impulse could result in less-than-ideal outcomes.
  • Evaluate Your Current Job: While you know you want to leave your current position, it is important to take stock of what you do enjoy and any elements that have kept you satisfied. Maybe the learning opportunities, mission of your employer, or lifestyle the job empowers you to maintain are the things you like about it. This evaluation could lead you to reconsider the career change, or at least help you identify any standards you want to carry over to your new position.
  • Perform Due Diligence and Research: Once you’re considering the career change, it’s time to do research and figure out the practical steps the change will require. Do you need additional education? Technical certification? Or to build your network? It’s important to keep the mindset that you aren’t starting over from scratch but rather you’re figuring out strategies to translate your existing skills into the career you desire.
  • Save for the Investment: If moving into a new industry means you’ll need to take a salary reduction, seek more education, move, or invest in elements like a brick-and-mortar space, it means you’ll need to save money. Having a financial cushion will help you stay confident and secure while you carry out the other elements of your career change.
  • Identify How to Present Yourself: You also need to be prepared for new employers, colleagues, and members of your network to want to hear the story behind this change. You can start thinking now about how to position yourself in a positive and professional manner. Think of ways to share your experience so that it connects to your new endeavor. These accounts shouldn’t cast negative reflection on you, your attitude about the past job, or your previous industry and employers.

Checklist During a Career Change

  • Build Up Skills and Capabilities: Whatever new learning or connections you need to carry out, taking the steps to grow those is a good first move toward the practical stages of your career change. Taking free online courses, starting a degree or certification program, or setting up opportunities to job shadow are great ways to start.
  • Manage Career Change Expectations: As you start applying for jobs, it’s important to keep evaluating and realigning your expectations, not just at an entry-level, but in terms of your career trajectory. As you learn more about the industry, the skills you are developing, and the opportunities available, you might decide the initial position that attracted you to the industry is just the beginning.
  • Prepare for an Interview: Part of the career change is working on a new resume, cover letter, and even your interview outfit. You can establish a basic resume and cover letter template that highlight your experience and capabilities in the new career field. Then, it’s always a good idea to edit your resume and cover letter based on the specifics of each position.
  • Use Your Network to Grow Experience: As you meet more people in your target career industry, see how they can help you grow your education and experience. Maybe they can connect you with internship opportunities, free education classes, or other professionals to help you advance your career.
  • Jump in Part-Time: You can also consider a more gradual transition to your target career through part-time work. This will allow you to build your resume, gain experience, and make sure the career change is really what you want in the end.

Every career changer will feature these steps in a new way, depending on the industry you are leaving and the industry you are entering. By checking off every item on this list, you’ll know that you are on the way to a new and more fulfilling career. Best of luck, and don’t forget to call on your Alpha Kappa Psi network for support.

Life of a Digital Nomad

Interested in travelling full-time? Tune in to hear Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens tell us about his decision to leave behind the corporate world and start an adventure across the world. All he needs is a car and stable internet connection to make this nomad lifestyle a reality.

Chris ‘Tarzan’ Clemens (not his actual middle name) grew up in rural Indiana and graduated from Ball State University, where he was president of the AKPsi chapter. Later, he moved to Southern California to sell cheesecake cutting machines until 2012 when he quit his job to hike the Appalachian Trail. Upon returning to California, Clemens became the youngest president of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, moved into his car, and lived on the street while working in a fast-growing tech startup. In 2015, he quit his job, secured a freelance marketing client, and hit the road to travel fulltime. 

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Five Ways to Spot a Fake Job Posting

Fake job postings have been around for a long time, even before the Internet. But high unemployment and a trend toward digital job listings has this crime on the rise. The FBI has been collecting a high volume of fake job posting reports since 2019, including reports of an average loss of $3,000 per victim. Cyber criminals use fake websites or emails to steal personal information and compromise a person’s identity. Here are five ways to spot a fake job posting and avoid getting scammed.

  1. Punctuation, Grammar, and Other Errors

When a job posting or email from a recruiter is full of punctuation and grammatical errors, strange capitalizations, misspellings, or other inconsistencies, it should be an early red flag. While not everyone is a grammar expert, the posting should come across as professional and polished.

Some errors stand out more than others as red flags. Any misspellings of the company name, key software required for the job, the job title itself, or common sites like Google and Yahoo should encourage you to not apply. The same applies to capitalization errors, like not capitalizing proper nouns or names.

  1. Informal Job Description, Requirements, or Hiring Process

It’s not just the grammar and spelling that show you if a job is real. Sometimes the description and requirements of the job will be a clue. If the “requirements” are basic elements that most adult applicants would achieve, like being over 18, being a US citizen, and having internet access, the job is potentially a scam. These requirements don’t actually tell the hiring manager anything about your qualifications or work experience, a clear sign they are more concerned with getting your personal information than giving you a job.

The same applies to the description of the job. If the duties sound amazingly easy and light, especially in comparison with the salary, this is a sign the job is too good to be true, meaning it probably isn’t!

The FBI indicates that the method of the interview can also let you know if it’s a scam. If the interview isn’t conducted in-person or through secure teleconferencing like Zoom or Google, this is a red flag. The most common fraudulent interview platforms require that you use an email address versus a phone number.

  1. Requests for Confidential Information

Other confidential information that can be requested as part of a fraudulent job posting includes your bank account information, credit card number, or Social Security Number. While it’s true that real jobs will collect this information from you to complete a background check or set up direct deposit, this should never be part of the preliminary application process. Some Federal or State jobs might be an exception, but in those cases, you will apply for the jobs through a secure government portal. Never send any of this information through an email or instant messenger service.

  1. Fee Requirements for Applications or Training

Another sign a job is a scam is when you have to pay the company for equipment or accreditation to be considered or to begin. This could apply to everything from a license to customer service equipment, like phones or headsets. You might in fact need these things to start the job, but especially in the case of proprietary equipment, the company should provide those tools. In cases like a securities license or teaching license, this proof of education might be required, but do some research to ensure you aren’t being charged by the hiring company for something free—and that you will retain any license if the job doesn’t work out.

  1. Strange Online Presence

It’s also a sign of a scam if the company’s online presence appears abnormal. First, you should find their website. If they don’t have one at all, that is a major red flag. Next, confirm the identical job posting is listed on their website. Many scammers will pretend to work for major companies and post jobs that lead to spam sites. Confirming the company actually posted the position is one way to avoid this trick. Lastly, make sure the email addresses and personal email signatures align with the information on the website as far as job title, spelling of the company name, and more.

Ultimately, spotting a fake job posting is about paying attention to the details. If anything arouses your suspicion, pay attention to your instincts. While you could have found a real job posting, consider the fact that the team hasn’t paid attention to details and it might not be a great work environment—and that’s your best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is being the victim of a crime that could lose you money, damage your credit, and compromise your identity. Carrying out these small steps of due diligence might mean you skip over a few job postings, but also it could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.



Emerging Remote Job Markets

Many people believe that remote work became a trend in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. While the need to shelter in place certainly got more companies on board with the idea of work-from-home, the truth is that remote work has been on the rise for a long time. According to a study by Flex Jobs and Global Workplace Analytics, there was a 159 percent increase in remote work from 2005 to 2017. Today, 62 percent of employees age 22 to 65 work remotely at least on occasion.

Now that remote work has become more accepted and common, many professionals are wondering how to break into emerging remote job markets, whether geographically or based on their industry. Here’s what job seekers and recent graduates need to know about remote work and how to build a career you love while at home.

Emerging Remote Work Careers and Industries

According to MarketWatch, there are at least 20 job titles and career fields that have seen an uptick in remote work listings since the start of 2020. Here are a few of the most popular work-from-home job titles growing this year:

            Accountant: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the need for accountants will grow 10 percent by 2026.

            Engineer: From aerospace to software to roads and infrastructure, engineers design the machines, equipment, and environment that inform our lives.

            Teacher: With online K-12 schools growing in popularity even before the pandemic, it’s possible to fully build a teaching or tutoring career from your own home.

            Nurse: Telehealth and other advancements in technology have created greater demand for nurses to remotely conference with patients and answer their questions.

            Writer/Editor: Demand for online content marketing is also on the rise, with this sector expected to grow 6 percent by 2026.

            Program/Project Manager: These professionals guide the success of a project from beginning to end, coordinating success even outside the office.

            Business Development/Sales: From entry level opportunities to sales and business development managers, these professionals help businesses grow.

            Web Developer/Designer: The tech industry in general is especially full of opportunity for remote workers, including coders and designers for software and the web.

How to Get a Remote Job

One key to landing a remote job you love is determining what really motivates you and finding the company culture and position to match. Though a majority of people would prefer to work from home some of the time, only 12 percent of people want to work from home all the time. This means hybrid positions or roles with an opportunity to spend some time with colleagues in-person could be right for you.

Plus, even a remote job might still have some limits based on your geography. Even though remote work empowers professionals to work anywhere, a lot of remote positions do still require state-specific residency or licensing, depending on the industry.

If you’re looking for a remote job, there are many great remote work job boards that can help you focus on a specific industry or role. Whether you want to start a freelance business or find a full-time role, the time has never been better to take control of your work environment and future. We wish you the best of luck. We also encourage you to rely on the connections of the Alpha Kappa Psi network for advice, connections, and support. Even from a distance, we are cheering you on!