Ready for a Career Change?
Changing careers is a big move, and it deserves some serious forethought.
New research shows that young people today may ultimately work in a wide variety of careers, with multiple career changes throughout their working life. Whereas in past generations the majority of people would commit to a single career for life, the prevalence of training opportunities and changes in the nature of work now allow people to regularly reconsider their career choice.
Once you’re in your thirties or forties, you’ve probably invested a lot of time and effort into your career. You may even have acquired a very expensive degree to qualify yourself for that line of work. However, considering that most people work well into their sixties and seventies, it’s never too late to change what you do with your life.
The age at which people qualify for the pension is regularly moved back in the face of new life expectancy data, changing demographics and governmental reassessment of exactly what they can afford to outlay. As such, it’s not a bad idea to keep your options open. If you’re considering a career change, you’re not alone – but it’s important to understand your reasons for changing, and whether you’re qualified for a new role.
Take a Good, Hard Look at Yourself.
When you’re entering a new career, it’s important to be open to the possibility that you won’t be as successful initially as you were in your previous career. However, with hard work and diligence, and a few sensible choices, you can quickly make up lost ground.
Before you even make the decision to change careers, it’s important that you assess your existing career situation beforehand. Get an idea of the type of work you enjoy doing, your working style and your personal values.
Ask yourself exactly where you want to be in life, and whether this is the right way of getting there. What would you do even if you weren’t being paid for it? Understand what gives you satisfaction in life, and look for that in your next career.
Just as important is identifying exactly why you want to change careers. If your job is the problem, you may be able to transfer into something with slightly different work, but on the same career trajectory. Furthermore, it might be time to make some changes in your personal life that could help you garner greater satisfaction from daily work.
Once you’ve had a very long think about your existing situation and your reasons for leaving, it’s time to take a look at the requirements for your preferred career. Get a good idea of what employers are looking for and determine whether you have what it takes to become successfully employed in your new career.
Understand your Skill set.
Most employers require candidates to have some level of experience in a similar role before they’ll hire them. However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have this experience if you can prove that much of your existing experience and skills are somewhat transferrable.
For any major career change, you will need a vast array of new skills. However, with some analysis you might discover that some of your current skills are transferrable to your new role. For example, administration and programming skills can be employed in a huge range of industries. Communication, customer service and leadership skills are also highly valued by many employers.
If you’re looking to pursue something completely different, these are the soft skills that will secure a role. Of course, when it comes to hard skills, you may need to update your qualifications.
Undertake Further Study.
Unless you’re interested in pursuing a low-skill career, you may need to undertake further study to fully equip yourself with the skills and abilities required to excel in your new role.
Returning to study, especially late in life, can be challenging. It can be difficult to get the confidence to study, and time and monetary pressures can be significantly greater than when you were younger. Before beginning new study courses, make sure that you can afford both the cost of the course and the time required to complete it.
By getting qualifications that will be helpful (or even mandatory) in your new career, you will make your job search far easier. The more qualified you are, the higher the likelihood of rapid career progression and getting to the position that you’re aiming for.
Many times, it is a sensible choice to study while still working. While it can place a lot of pressure on your personal time and family time, it also means that you maintain an income while studying and aren’t out of the workforce for an extended period.
Consider Other Options.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify exactly what is making us unhappy. Examining your emotions and understanding their cause can be hard, and is a skill in itself. Before you make the leap to a new career, decide whether your problems are stemming from an easily solved source.
If you have a bad manager, o0r are simply unhappy in your role, you might be able to make a lateral move inside your current company. While these won’t get you out of the industry, it may set you on a new career path. Try having a confidential chat with the human resources department to explore other options inside the company.
Volunteer to Learn.
There’s a reason many school and university students undertake work experience. It’s an excellent way of obtaining some inside understanding of the way certain roles, careers and industries work. Before you make a firm decision, consider volunteering in your preferred career.
Obviously, this can be difficult for a lot of jobs, particularly those that require specific qualifications. However, if you have the option to volunteer for something even closely related to your preferred career, it can really help you to decide whether that’s the right move. As a bonus, it will give you some experience to add to your CV.
The decision to change careers is a big one. However, with adequate preparation, a strong understanding of your reasons for moving, and a bright outlook, it can be relatively easy.