Are you considering the career change plunge - the voice in the back of your head that is edging you towards another industry? There are a million reasons that people choose to change jobs: maybe their goals or values have changed, maybe they are seeking more excitement, flexibility or money.
Whatever your reasons may be, a successful career change can sometimes be easier said than done.
If you’re currently thinking of a career change, there are several things you need to consider.
1. Ask yourself ‘why’ are you considering a career change?
So many people wake up with the dread of going to work; however they never really look beyond that. Before you change your career entirely, you have to get clear idea on why you want to leave. Keep a journal of your daily reactions at your job, and look for any recurring issues or problems. Which aspects do you like? Which do you dislike? This may help you to evaluate whether it’s the current position you hate or the industry as a whole.
2. Evaluate where your strengths lie
While in your current position, conduct a SWOT analysis of yourself. Find out where your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lay in your professional life. What projects do you enjoy at work? What are your core values and skills? This will help you to determine which direction you would like your career to progress, helping you to assess your potential career alternatives.
3. Research alternative careers
While you may know what you don’t want to do, it helps to know what you do want to do. Brainstorm ideas for your next step, researching career options and using your SWOT analysis to evaluate where you think your skills may excel. Seek advice from family, friends and networking contacts as to where they think you would work well – who knows, you may discover a career you never knew existed!
4. Do some research
Before you dive into the job search, conduct a preliminary analysis of several potential career industries. Look at the job prospects and growth rates, identifying how the field is tracking in terms of employment opportunities. You can find a wealth of information through a simple Google search, so ensure you are using these tools to your advantage.
5. Network strategically
Every professional knows how important networking is, especially for job seekers. For people undergoing a career transition, knowing the right people can be the thing that gets your foot through the door. When you meet new contacts, ensure they are aware of your situation and why you are a good fit for the type of job and position you want. Use social media to target individuals as this can be a great avenue to develop meaningful relationships with others who share the same interests. If you develop good relationships early, these people may be willing to advocate for you down the track.
6. Volunteer in your chosen field
The best way to test your interest in an industry is to try it out. Identify volunteer or freelance activities related to your chosen field, learning anything you can about what day-to-day employment will be like. Not only will this prove of your willingness and eagerness to learn, but it can also help save you time and effort in the long run, should you decide it may not be the best career path to pursue after all.
7. Consider a short course
Consider potential education opportunities or classes that can help you dust up your knowledge in your new field. Consider studying a short course, evening course or online course can help to verse you in the industry terminology and jargon, familiarising you with what it takes to succeed in a new position. Everyone around you will be in the same position, so it helps to surround yourself with like-minded people.
8. Refresh your resume
When preparing your resume, ensure that all sections of your resume are pertinent and up to date. Take the time to review job position descriptions, ensuring the highlighted information is relevant to the industry you are seeking to enter. Update your LinkedIn and online portfolio if applicable, ensuring that you freshen up your current credentials to boast your enthusiasm about your career transition. The same goes with writing your cover letter, make sure you highlight your achievements rather than your actual job title, this will speak louder than any previous authority you may have had.
9. Make a career change
Changing careers may put you back to an entry level position. While this may be the case, you shouldn’t be scared to put yourself out there. You’ve investigated the industry, made some connections and spruced up your resume. Now comes the important part – to actually make the career change. It is also important to remember, although you may not be an expert in your new chosen field, you still possess a commendable amount of valuable transferrable skills.
10. Be flexible
From your employment status to your ideal location and salary, you’ll need to be flexible about nearly everything. Set positive goals for yourself, with the expectation that setbacks and changes may occur. However, if this happens, don’t let it get you down. This is the time to transition into an industry that fulfils your passions, and while there should be nerves and excitement, it shouldn’t weigh you down. Besides a totally new career, there could be merit in exploring alternative avenues. You might consider going out on your own, starting your own business or working freelance? The world is your oyster.
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