The New Rules Of Work: Test-driving Your Career Path

In this EIGHT PART SERIES we chronicle the new ways to NAVIGATE YOUR CAREER in the MODERN WORKPLACE. This week we’re discussing how to shift careers …


Even if you think you would be happy in a particular career path, sometimes you don’t know until you try it. Which is why we recommend that you start taking small steps that’ll help you test-drive potential career paths. This has an added benefit of giving you real life experience that you can put on your resume and talk about when you’re applying to jobs.

Be a shadow

Take the informational interview one step further, and ask a contact if you can shadow him or her for a half day at the office. Seeing what a day of work looks like can be a whole different ball game than being told!

Try an internship

Many people believe that internships are just for college students, but in reality, anyone can get a part-time or summer internship. No matter where you are on your career journey, a few months actually working in a field you’re interested in can tell you a lot about whether you’re excited by the day-to-day job duties.

Take a class

There are countless options for education these days, particularly online, and often for free. Yes, you’ll gain knowledge from these courses and can put those credentials on your resume, but often the real benefit is understanding whether or not you truly get excited over the subject matter.

Immerse yourself in the field

Industry blogs, newsletters, conferences, events, podcasts … no matter what job you’re interested in, there are so many options for learning more about it. You’ll have more insight into whether it’s the path for you.

Take on a project at your current job

Okay, this isn’t an option if you’re currently an engineer and you want to be a nurse practitioner, but in many situations, you might be able to find someone who does what you want to do without looking further than your own office! Ask if you can sit in on some of their meetings, join a project team, or see if there’s a project that no one’s really tackling that you could pick up on the side.

Volunteer or freelance

Unless your employer has a restriction against it (and yes, some do, so you should check out your employment agreement and employee hand-book!), there’s a good chance you can test out certain career paths on the side, by volunteering at a nonprofit or helping out small businesses on a freelance basis.

Copyright © 2017 by Million Things LLC. Extracted from THE NEW RULES OF WORK by Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew. Published by Orion Spring at £14.99 in paperback. Also available in audio and ebook.

Whether you are starting out in your career, looking to advance or navigating a mid-career shift, this eight part series will provide you with the tips and advice you need to thrive in the new world of work. Stay tuned for the second excerpt from The New Rules of Work next Monday.

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