According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the three industries that will see the fastest rate of jobs growth through 2018 are health care; professional, scientific, and technical services, and education. But just because that’s where the action is doesn’t mean that you should force yourself into a round hole if you are a square peg.
“Choosing a career based on what's "hot" right now is one of the biggest myths of career planning,” says Dawn Rosenberg McKay of Guide to Career Planning at About.com. “The career has to be suitable for the individual, while also having a promising future.”
With any career change, it is important to take a long hard look at your capabilities and research the situation.
“The homework is critical to answering whether or not school is appropriate,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide."
You have to figure out whether or not a career change is a big or small one. If it’s small, continues Cohen, it may be that rethinking what you bring to the table and subsequently repackaging and repositioning how you present yourself is sufficient.
Certainly, a less drastic change would be easier to accomplish. If you’ve been in IT, for example, and your skills are no longer relevant, a course or a certificate in an area of technology that is valuable now may be all that it takes.
If, on the other hand, you are going into the pause as an opportunity to reinvent, that’s another story.
“If there is virtually no relationship between what you’ve done before and what you want to do next, say you’ve been a banker and you want to be a baker, then going back to school is critical because you need to learn the basics so you can begin to be out in the world in this new capacity,” says Cohen.
John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement company in Chicago, cautions that starting over is risky and a lot easier to do in the early part of your career.