Are you thinking about changing careers?

Making a move to a more rewarding position that's a better fit can seem overwhelming, especially if you think you may have to go back to school in order to change careers. However, not everyone has to go back to school in order to change careers. It just takes a little extra planning, a lot of focus on skills you already have and a great resume to highlight those transferable skills.

To start changing careers without going back to school, first think about the occupation you're looking to transition into and whether it's well-suited for you. Does the career typically utilize skills you already have, or will you need to learn a number of new skills? Will the new career provide on-the-job training (OJT) or do you have to come in already an expert?

Do your best to make sure you'll be happy changing careers by thinking about the job description. Are the main requirements of the role something that you're good at or excited about? For example, if you're not comfortable speaking in front of others, but the position has a good deal of presenting, you may want to reconsider. Changing careers can be exciting, but if it's a big move, you should take the time to ensure it's the right one.

Jot down a list of the new careers you are considering, and include which would require additional education, which would use skills you think you may already have and which may provide on-the-job training.

Next, take a look at the skills you presently have, those that are considered transferable skills. Are you great at customer service? Are you an excel sheet whiz? Make a list of everything that you're great at in your current position as well as everything that you love about it. Include even the small tasks that you love. Once you make a list, it may become clear which skills you already have that are transferable.

Then, compare the list of potential new positions you're considering to the list of transferable skills that employers are looking for. This may make changing careers (and writing your new resume!) easier than you think. If you're changing careers without going back to school, narrow down the list by finding positions that may utilize your transferable skills. Instead of going back to school, you may need to consider taking a small online course, attending a workshop, or applying for an internship or apprenticeship - even as an adult!

However, if you've always dreamed of being a lawyer, nurse or another position that would require additional schooling, now is the time to look into what it would take. Consider carefully whether you're ready to take on the time and financial commitment.

If you're changing careers without going back to school and relying on your transferable skills, your resume is even more important. It's critical to present those transferable skills to a hiring manager so they can clearly see the relevance your skills have to the position they're looking to fill. Otherwise, they may peg you as not a great fit based solely on your past career experience.

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