There are times in your life when you may feel you’ve exhausted everything you can possibly get from your current working arrangement. Your job feels unchallenging and routine; every day you arrive at work, complete the same tasks, and leave, with no chance of promotion and no passion left in your heart.
When this happens to you, it may not just be time to switch jobs within your current career. It could be a great opportunity to assess where you are in life and whether a complete career change would be appropriate. If you decide this is what you want to do, the process can be a little arduous, but it can be immensely rewarding, too. Here are 10 essential steps for changing your career.
1. Think carefully
It should go without saying, but the first thing to do when you’re considering a career change is to think about it very carefully. Is this definitely the right decision? Are you just experiencing a momentary slump at your current job, or is your dissatisfaction definitely long-term? Draw up a list of pros and cons at your workplace. If the cons far exceed the pros, then you may be overdue a career change, but be careful not to let any current frustration cloud your judgement.
2. Make sure you’re well-funded
Career changes aren’t just scary from a stability perspective; they can also be costly. Make sure you’re well-equipped to deal with a potential transition period between your old career and your new one. Loans can be a solid option for helping you financially during this time; whether you want £500 loans or £50,000, you’re likely to find an option out there for you, although lenders may want to see proof that you’ll be able to make regular repayments.
3. Research new careers
The worst thing you can do is leap blindly into a new career without understanding the realities of what you’re getting into. The fact is that every career has its negatives and drawbacks; no job is perfect, and although it might seem like one career is significantly superior to another, experience in the field may persuade you otherwise. Be sure to thoroughly research new careers; talk to people, see if you can get onto work experience or volunteer programs, and look up new companies or positions on the internet.
4. Work on your CV
Submitting a CV to a prospective new employer is a daunting enough task without the added stress of switching careers. Sometimes, your current CV won’t have the relevant experience on it, especially if you’re considering a dramatic career shift. This means you’ll likely have to craft new versions of the document, each with an emphasis on different areas of your working life. Think carefully about any experience you might have that’s relevant to your new career choice, and be sure to focus on that.
5. Build a network
Statistics have shown that a majority of open job positions are filled through networking. While this may seem disheartening initially, there’s no reason you can’t build a network of your own and use it to get yourself a new position. Attend as many networking events as you feel able to, and make sure to mingle and get your name out there. Even if you don’t have much relevant experience under your belt, your enthusiasm and research should make up for that.
6. Take action, don’t wait
Have you heard of analysis paralysis? It’s a phenomenon whereby people spend so long thinking about something – analysing it at all angles, considering all eventualities, et cetera – that they fail to actually do anything about their situation. The same can happen with career changes. Don’t spend too long wondering about what you’re going to do; put plans into action as soon as possible, because that way, you’re more likely to actually move forward in life!
7. Take a course or two
If you have cash saved up and you want to enhance your chances of getting a new job, then taking a course in your new chosen field can be an excellent boost to your prospects. Research courses carefully; you may not need to embark on a full two-year program, for example, so be sure that you know the course is right for you before you enrol. Education can be a good way to show prospective employers you’re serious about your career change if you don’t have much experience.
8. Don’t chase the money
While a good salary is, of course, important – we should all be compensated for our skills and time, after all – it’s not the be-all and end-all of a new job. It’s important not to get bogged down in salary details when you’re changing careers. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the money aspect of the job completely; it’s still important to be paid relative to the work you’re doing, so don’t take a massive pay cut just to chase your dreams.
9. Be open-minded
You never know what kind of career is going to come your way. It’s worth keeping your options open, as something that might not initially have seemed like a good idea could well be the perfect opportunity for you. Don’t dismiss something simply because you don’t have any experience or understanding of the industry; doing some research could reveal that it’s the right path for you to take, so consider everything and keep an open mind at all times.
10. Don’t give up
Changing careers is very difficult. Often, career paths feel set up to keep us in the jobs we have rather than encouraging us to develop multipotentialite skills. It’s not going to be easy to switch careers; you’ll run up against roadblocks like a lack of experience, people not taking you seriously, or opportunities simply not existing at the time you’re applying for them. Keep at it, because if you really want the change, it’ll happen for you one way or another!