If you are thinking about switching careers, make sure you have weighed up your options with these key considerations.
Most of us have longed for a career change at some point or another. Whether it is a nagging boss, long hours or your current job is not fulfilling your passions, there are many reasons to crave a new career. The unfortunate reality is that not everybody makes it happen.
Unless you are a 20-something and fresh out of university, most of us have families, mortgages, and commitments that prevent us from retraining easily and recalculating the GPS on our careers. Online courses have become one vehicle to overcome this barrier, but they are far from an entire solution.
So, before you take steps to change your career, what are the early considerations?
Are You Changing Career for the Right Reasons?
What to say when people ask why you are switching careers?
The first question to ask yourself is what are the reasons that you want to change career. For most people, their work-life balance may be out of sync or they may want to follow a lifelong dream. Some reasons may not be good motivation for redirecting a career, such as doing it for more money alone.
Yes, most of us would like to have a larger disposable income but that isn't a good enough reason to change careers. It is a good reason to change jobs but that is not what we are talking about. If you are giving up on your passions for a career with more money it could make you unhappy in the long term. So, ask yourself why you are wanting to change your career first – and then sleep on the idea.
Is Your Preferred Career Available to You?
Once you have considered changing careers and identified the reasons you want to switch jobs, you may want to go ahead with your plan. However, before you make any drastic decisions and notices get handed in, you first need to research the career you want to go into.
Find out what qualifications and experiences are needed for you to obtain the role in your next career. There are many ways of doing this from dedicated career sites. However, you could always find out what employers are asking for by going directly to job adverts.
For example, if you live in the NorthWest, searching for specific jobs in Manchester will bring up a host of current listings where you will be able to get a feel for what those jobs entail via their person specifications. You will also be able to easily find the common requests from employers and qualifications that are recognized in your next career path.
Planning for the times you really use the best job sites starts early!
Speak with Those in Your Dream Job
Now that you know what you need to do to land a job in your new career, you need to check that this is really something for you. That doesn’t mean hopping back on your favorite search engine and looking at the same sites and forums; it means getting among the people who are already working in the industry or at a company you have already identified.
Thankfully, the world is easily connected today and with the help of LinkedIn and other social media, thus you can easily find people in your desired role – if you don’t already know someone yourself.
When you do meet these professionals for coffee, you can ask them all the questions you have with honest answers. If you are changing careers for more family time, then you may be shocked to hear that the grass is not always greener in other industries or companies. Getting honest opinions from those working in your planned industry should come before any decisions are made.
Are You Financially Stable to Make a Switch?
If you have to retrain or complete qualifications to switch careers, you may need to stop work early or reduce your number of hours. This can be a scary step because all of a sudden you are committing to your career change. At this moment you may need to discuss with your partner if you have the financial stability to attempt the career switch.
There may be ways you can dial down the spending to make it happen, but it may also not be viable. One way around the latter conundrum is by choosing online courses to study in your own time while working at the same time. This means you hold your financial position while preparing for a new career.
Just remember to only use online courses that are registered and recognized by employers. Otherwise, you are wasting your time, effort and money.
How Do You Commit to a New Career?
You’ve made the decision, come up with a blueprint, had reassurance from those already doing the job you want to be doing – and now it is time to prepare yourself for that career. Aside from online courses and gaining qualifications, here are some more ways to ready yourself:
Not having the job is not a reason not to be networking with industry professionals and attending conferences. In fact, it is more of a reason to start networking and getting your face noticed.
Soft skills are also a crucial aspect of a job application. Figuring out ways to develop yours and evidence these improvements can make all the difference in your applications.
You may not have developed a CV or a covering letter for some time. Even if you have, there is always a reason to improve these documents.
Not literally – but you should be following companies and employers on your socials to understand what they are all about, the type of staff they hire and when they have new openings.
Embarking on a new career can be a daunting prospect, especially if you have worked your way up the ladder of your current one already. Nevertheless, embrace the challenge and seize the opportunity!