/ Asked by Kindra
How would it look from HR's point of view if I were to completely switch career paths? For example, I'm currently pursing a Management degree to eventually be a restaurant owner, but I want to later pursue a career in the criminal justice field. On my resume, would that look as if I couldn't make up my mind?
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Thursday, October 2, 2014
No. It won’t look like that at all. Many people change career paths for all kinds of reasons. For example many of my marketing MBA interns had backgrounds in Finance and Mechanical engineering.  Sometimes people learn more about themselves and find opportunities to fit what their strengths are and what they enjoy to do better. Also many people have expertise and passions in different areas. That is totally normal and acceptable. I met with a woman the other day. She had spent the majority of her career in a financial realm, and she loved it and enjoys the business side of work. She also has a passion for helping child victims of domestic abuse. She had an MBA and a MSW (Master of Social Work), both degrees she loves and uses, but they are very different spectrums.
 I say this life is short and if you can dabble in several areas that you love then you should absolutely do it! You have already overcome that hardest battle for most people and that is figuring out what it is you are passionate about and want to do with your career. Best wishes!
Nell
Answered by Dustin, Hiring Expert at HP Inc., on Monday, October 6, 2014
Career transitions are not an automatic negative and can actually be very beneficial when applying to a role, but the key is to make sure you are able to effectively communicate the reasons for the change and also what you did or are doing to successfully navigate it. 

One note of caution though, experience and well-developed skills in your chosen area of expertise is what will differentiate you and keep you highly marketable in a competitive job market. If you know you want to pursue a career in criminal justice, I'd strongly encourage you to go after that route now and not delay or miss out on opportunities to gain valuable experience as soon as possible. 
Answered by Ashley, Hiring Expert at Cardinal Health, on Wednesday, October 8, 2014
I do not believe it would negatively impact you to switch career paths. This happens more often than you would expect. However, I would strongly encourage you to gain some experience in your new field of interest prior to applying for full-time positions. It won’t reflect badly on you to switch your major but you will want to have some experience in your new field so you can back up your decision to switch. A hiring manager would want to be sure you have had some exposure to criminal justice prior to a job offer because they won’t be 100% certain you’re committed to that job field. I would encourage you to seek out an internship, organization, or volunteer opportunity that relates to this area to build your resume and strengthen your reasoning behind switching career paths.
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, October 24, 2014
Switching the career path you are on is not uncommon at all.  It is courageous and shows that you want to pursue a career in which you will not only be successful, but be passionate about as well.  Two key suggestions though.  One, be completely honest with you employers about your long term career interests very early on so they are not blindsided by changes later.  Second, try to time the change at a point where you have accomplished as much as you can in your first career path.  This allows you to provide a reasonable answer to anyone else about why you decided to make a career change when you did.
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