Whether you’ve been in your current career for years or you’ve just started and realized it’s not for you, a career change is a big decision and requires a lot of work. Without a structured plan, you may end up postponing it longer than you would like.
With the right tools, you’ll be able to find a career that’s right for you and start putting things into motion. Let’s take a look at the things you’ll need to change your career and the best approaches to get you there.
Reasons for wanting to change careers
You might think that the reasons for wanting to change careers aren’t that important, and you might not have fully thought about it, but it’s actually a necessary part of the process. By understanding the cause of your dissatisfaction with your current situation, you can look for another career that solves this problem.
Some common reasons for entering a new profession include:
- Salary: Some professions simply do not provide these higher income goals.
- Professional satisfaction: You just don’t appreciate the basic nature of the job.
- Culture: While usually specific to a workplace, some careers have a culture you can’t get away from.
- Your personal values: You may have started out with certain ethics and ideals, but these have changed as you have grown.
- A skills mismatch: Studying for a particular career can be very different from doing it, and now that you’ve started working, you’ve discovered that your skills lie elsewhere.
- A new challenge: You have been in your current career for a long time and you are looking for a new challenge.
- Personal circumstances: Some careers have specific time requirements that you can no longer meet due to changes in your personal life.
Technically, all the reasons are valid, but to undertake such an upheaval, you will have to make sure that your motivations are sufficient. For example, if you get bored easily with work, you may just need to be more proactive in asking your boss for more responsibility, rather than a complete career change.
1. Identify the right career for you
You have your reasons for changing, but now you need to find a job that matches your values, skills and ambitions. This is often the hardest part, and it can take a while before you really figure out the type of job that speaks to you, so it’s good to pace yourself here.
You may already have a few ideas, but it’s good to go back to the drawing board and check if there’s anything you haven’t considered. A good starting point for a global search is a career test.
You should take a career test with a pinch of salt, and it’s worth doing a few different ones, to see if different results show up. The goal here is to get an idea of where your skillset is best suited and to prompt some self-reflection on what you think is a good match. Here are some tests you can try for free:
2. Determine what you don’t want
While you’re looking for a career you want to pursue, it’s good to figure out what you don’t want out of a career. With your current and past work experience, you’ll know what you don’t like, so you can use that knowledge to narrow your search.
If you don’t like the usual nine-to-five work schedule, you’ll want to ignore occupations that tend to conform to it. Likewise, if you really want a new challenge, switching careers to something that uses all the same skills is probably not going to be a good bet.
Make a list of the things that matter to you and come back to them when evaluating your career options. This will keep you focused and save you wasted time in the long run.
3. Research your career ideas
Once you’ve found professions you’d like to pursue, you’ll need to do a little more research into them. Your research should cover the following:
- Qualification and training requirements.
- The different roles you can play within the profession.
- Pathways to progression within the profession.
- Typical working hours and requirements.
Outlook and One Stop Career are two websites that offer a range of career profiles containing the above information. Just search for the profession you are interested in and read on. You can also use YouTube to watch videos of other people’s experiences.
You will want to check if you can commit to the educational requirements to enter this career and if the role is feasible for you. If you are satisfied with your selections, you can find the courses you need and start a retraining or upgrading by following the guidance in the career profiles.
4. Revamp your CV
Although you are changing careers, the work experience you have had so far is still very relevant and you will need to show it when applying to potential employers. The skills you have can be transferred across many lines of work, so be sure to summarize them when you revamp your resume.
Transferable skills can include anything related to leadership, communication, using technology, working with clients, problem solving, analytical work, writing, project management And much more. Think about how your skills might apply specifically to your new profession and adapt them.
You can create a professional resume in Microsoft Word, using templates and tweaking it, so it stands out to employers. A new career deserves a whole new resume, and it will get you thinking critically about how you might play the role.
Moving career change
There’s a lot to consider when making a career change, but if the time is right and you’re ready for it, you can reap huge rewards. Ultimately, work is a huge part of our lives and it’s worth doing something you love.
With the information outlined in this article, you will be able to get started and complete your decision. If you’re ever unsure of anything, you can go back and review any of the steps to make sure you’re getting the most out of your new profession.
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