There are often points in our career when we question if we are in the right job or on the right career path. Sometimes those moments of doubt develop into a more certain desire to move and consider changing careers. Moves such as these can be scary especially if you have invested a good chunk of time in your current career path, but there is evidence to show that number of organisational and job changes has doubled when compared to the movements of the previous generation. Perhaps this is indicative of permanent changes to the job market where changing career becomes an easier and more accessible outcome.
What things do you need to consider when contemplating changing careers? When I’m working with my clients these are some of the areas I discuss with them.
Find out what is driving you to consider changing career
This is the point for an honest conversation with yourself. Do you hate your current job so much that any route out would look good? Are you unhappy with the company you are with, your current job role or profession in its entirety? Changing your career represents just one option to solving job dissatisfaction, and it is probably the hardest one to do, so make sure you are clear you have considered every angle, opportunity and be very honest with yourself. Unless you really understand what you want to change, it is very likely you could jump out of the frying pan and into the fire!
Think about what skills you want to use in your new career
If you are sure changing career is the right option for you then now is the time to think about the skills you want to use in your new career path. I often do an exercise with clients where we identify and rank the skills and abilities they love using at work, their personal strengths and their personal interests. Working through this exercise and prioritising what is important to you, generates the clarity needed for you to understand what kind of job you might want.
Do your research
Spend time gathering information about potential new career paths. Speak to people currently in those kinds of roles or professions, what do they have to say? Research any additional training or qualifications you may need, where are these available and what is the cost and time required to complete them? Most importantly look at the potential career path, what are the limits and possibilities for the next few years? Does this fit in with your life plans? Considering all of these options now will help to prevent a similar situation occurring again in later years.
Give yourself time
Some career changes will take time, especially if training is needed. Make plans with realistic milestones to keep you on track and to demonstrate your progress. Keep a positive frame of mind and try to be as adaptable as you can because you will inevitably hit some bumpy bits on your journey.
Money and resources
For most people it is important to consider the financial responsibilities they have and how they will maintain these whilst moving career. For example if you want to be a teacher, will you need to pay for the qualification and be able to finance your time whilst you are studying. It is equally important to remember that even if you are entering a new career path you still possess transferable and very valuable skills so don’t automatically assume you will need to take an entry level position, leaving you with a huge pay cut just because you change industries.
I’d love to hear any comments or stories from you about your experiences with changing careers.