20th Jun2019

Guide to Making a Successful Career Change

by James Smith

If you want to make changes to your career, then it can be a really daunting task. But at the end of the day, you spend so much time doing your job, that you really need to make sure that it is something that you enjoy, and something that you don’t dread going to. If that is the case, then it isn’t going to make your life very enjoyable or happy.

Making a career change does usually mean that you need to invest in both some of your time and some of your money. And as with any investment that you might make, it is important to make sure that you are fully informed before you make it. So before you plan on making a career complete change, here are some of the steps that you can take to make sure that you are able to increase your chances of getting your dream job so you can be on your way to the career that you want.

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Do you need a change?

You might be a little bored with what you are doing at the moment. But does that warrant a full change? Before you start to think about making a complete career change, you do have to ask yourself what are the reasons for doing so, as well as deciding if you really need to actually have a career change. Could a different role in the same industry satisfy the change that you are craving? If so, then just looking for a different job can be a slightly easier task (that is still not simple). But it can be a bit simpler than going into an industry where you have no experience at all.

Assess Yourself

If you are planning on a career change after thinking it through, and feel like it is right for you, then you will need to make sure that you are assessing your skills, values, interests, and personality. There are many tools and online career tests that you can do, that can give you a good indicator of what would work for you. The reason why these assessments is a good idea is because they can really impact what you choose to do. For example, you might like the idea of working in a hospital as you get to help people. But if you are someone that can get quite emotionally attached to people and the kind of person that takes their work home with them, then it could end up being quite a distressing, upsetting, or even stressful career option for you. So you need to assess whether you just like the idea or something, or if in reality, it would fit in with you and your personality. Self-assessment tools can be used to generate a list of different job roles and occupations that are seen as appropriate based on the answers that you give to the questions asked.

Make a List of Occupations

Once you have a list of occupations, through something like a self-assessment tool, the list is quite likely to be long; there can be a whole range of things on there that could work for you. From there, you need to come up with a much shorter list of things that you could then look into to see what is required in the job role, or what it fully entails. Read through the occupations that you really think you would enjoy, or at least the ones that intrigue you to find out more. You might have one in mind, so if so, it definitely warrants a little more exploration and discovery.

Then when you have your list, look for people to help you if you know people working in those industries, or think about the best blogs, sites, and information that you can get that will help you to find out key information about those roles. For each of the job roles or industries and occupations on your list, it is a good idea to look at the job description, for each, the qualifications that are needed, any particular experience (such as management), and then the prospects for growth in that occupation, as well as salary and other ways to further the career. Then you can be confident in the knowledge that any decision that you make has been made being fully informed.

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Narrow Down Your List

Once you have looked into what is required, the ins and outs of certain jobs roles, and things like the job salary, you are likely to have narrowed down your list from what you have found out. If the salary expectations aren’t what you would need or what you’d expect, then move it off your list. The same goes for specific industry experience and so on. Although you could get that experience in time, in the immediate future a role like that isn’t something that will work if you don’t have the experience. You should also think about the qualifications that are required too. A nurse, for example, would need a nursing degree from somewhere like Baylor University, if you don’t already have that ticked off. You might have some qualifications that will mean that you could transition quite easily. But if there are specific qualifications that you need to have, are you prepared to put in the time, money, and energy to gain those qualifications? If the answer is yes, then keep that occupation on your list. If it is a no, then it is time to move on.

Career Action Plan

Now that your list is getting whittled down, to just a few occupations, it is a good idea to think about the career goals that you have. Think about the long term plan with your career; where do you want to be with it all in five or ten years time, for example? Once you are able to set yourself an action plan, it will really help in making sure that you can take the steps to doing what you need to do. Try not to have the goals be too financially based, though. This can be inhibiting, as you don’t necessarily know what wages will be in certain sectors ten years down the line. Instead, focus on the roles that you could have, such as being in senior management in ten years time, or have learned enough about business by then to running your own business. A plan though, will help you to see your goals through and help you to have a focus with your career.

Train for Your New Career

Making a change in your career can mean that you will have to go through some training, but it obviously does depend on what you have already been doing and what you will be going into. It is important to make sure that you are looking at the skills of yours that are transferable, though, as these are the things that can help you in your new career. It could be things like admin, organizational skills, time-management, team management, or budgeting skills. These kinds of things, when you’re good at them, will be valuable and important in any industry. If there are other things that you need to do, such as get a masters or even a different bachelor’s degree, then find out what you need and what specifics you need to cover. It could simply mean an online course or just doing an internship for some experience. Just be open to learning and be prepared to be earning a little less of a while, so that you can get trained up like you need to.

Goodbye to Your Current Career

You may have been made redundant or lost your job in another way, which has led you to think about switching careers. If that is the case, then there is no need to leave a current job and all that comes with that. But if you are currently in a job, then you will need to deal with the issues relating to quitting your job and be ready for things like the notice period and so on. If you are leaving on good terms, then for most people, this isn’t something that is going to be an issue. Just make sure that you are professional throughout it all, and give your employer as much notice as you can. If you have some training to do before starting the new job role, for example, then you could tell your current employer when that starts, so that they can be prepared for your leaving in a few months down the line.
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It is important to note that something like loyalty to your current employer shouldn’t be a reason to stay if the job and the business is making you unhappy. If you want to stick to what you’re doing but just want changes, then you could always speak to your employer to let them know how you feel, or look to move to a competitor. But if making a move is for you, then we hope that this guide helps.
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