How to go about a career change
Few people actually bound out of bed in the morning, thrilled at what another day of work will bring. Punching the clock (do people still do that?) to work tirelessly to crawl up the next step on career ladder, but only then realising that they're on the wrong ladder.
Sometimes just changing job within the same career field does not serve the purpose. Often, it is a complete change such as moving to an entirely new profession or industry that can help. Though many may contemplate a career change, very few will go through with it; and most do not necessarily know how to do it or where to start.
Here are a few tips on what to consider:
Decide what is it you don’t like on your current job
Reflect on why you want a change. Is it because you dislike your job, your colleagues or working conditions? Have you been there too long and you just need a change perhaps? You need to differentiate between a job and a career change. Financial compensation should not be the main driver of a career change.
Know your passion, what you like and dislike. Know what drives you and what bores you. Finally ask yourself: “Do I have what it takes?” before making any change you need to understand what skills and experience are required in your new field. Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, using feedback from friends and family as well. Use this self-assessment to assess the potential options areas where your strongest skills can be put to work.
Do your research
After getting to know yourself, get to know the career you want to move to. If you are planning a significant career change, you need to have all your facts straight, so ensure that you do extensive research to understand what you are stepping into. Learn as much as you can about all aspects of the new field: what skills do you need, what does compensation look like, which companies are the main players in this field and what is it like to work for them.
Know what you can offer
We all have a unique combination of skills and experiences; take a moment to determine what are yours. What are you good at? Find out what your strengths are and whether are matching the skills required in your new field. Find out whether further education or professional training is needed and how much time it will take.
Before you hand in your resignation, understand how long the transition will take and ensure you have funds avaialable to support yourself during that time.
Have a financial backup plan
A career change is always an exciting time in your life and once you make the decision to move on from your current job you may be feeling that you can’t wait o e more day. Before you hand in your resignation, understand how long the transition will take and ensure you have funds avaialable to support yourself during that time. It is often not realistic to think that you can replicate the senior salary you are making now in the new career. Things simply take time so you need to be financially prepared for that.
Develop a strong network in your desired field, this way you will not only become familiar with the requirements in the new field but also get exposed to upcoming opportunities. Use your personal as well as your digital network to let people know that you are thinking about making a career change and see if they know anyone they can connect you with. The most useful people to connect with are those who have already done the career change you’d like to make.
Sharpen your job-hunting skills
The dynamics of searching for a new job might have changed drastically since your last search. Acquire the desired level of skills to search for a job in current situations and revamp your CV to reflect these changes.
Act instead of analysing
No matter how certain you are about your career change decision, you are sooner or later meant to be faced with fear and doubt. Even if you have done your research you may be paralysed with fear from making a mistake. The truth is that unless you make a decision to get on the field you have chosen and explore it, you will never get out of the job that makes you miserable. If you act and get on the path you have chosen you can always course-correct. Start by shadowing a friend or volunteering in the field you have chosen to get some hands on experience.
Expect the unexpected
No matter how keen you are to leave behind a job that made you miserable, keep in mind that a career change requires significant investment in terms of time, money and effort and commitment. Do not expect things to happen overnight. To get to the point you want to be in your new career, you need to work smart and be persistent,
Set positive goals yet be prepared for the unexpected too. You might earn a lower salary, or need to relocate. Staying flexible is the key to managing change.
- - -
Sophia Fromell is the Founder of Ithaca Life and is a certified Life Coach with a degree in Life Coaching Skills and Practice from Newcastle College, UK and a member of The International Coach Federation (ICF). The views expressed in her columns do not necessarily reflect those of Esquire or Hearst International