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The Complete Guide to Changing Careers
It happens all the time and you’re no different, so there’s no need to feel as though you’re on your own. You’ve negotiated the Christmas and New Year period, gone back to work, and decided enough is enough.
In 2018, you’re going to change careers from doing something that pays the bills, to doing something you love (that still pays the bills).
But how do you do that? Everyone says they want to go to work doing something they love but how many people actually make it happen? It makes sense to have a job you love, after all, you don’t want to be miserable 38 hours per week. Who wants to wake up every weekday in a bad mood because they know they’re going to spend the rest of the day doing something they hate?
But how do you go about making a career change? There are so many factors people need to consider:
- Will I need to study?
- Will there be a cost involved?
- How long will it take me?
- Will I have to take a pay cut? Can I afford that?
- Should I take the risk or stay safe where I am?
- What do I even want to do?!?!
These are just some of the more common questions people ask themselves, but there are many, many more. If you’re one of the lucky people who know exactly what they want to do then your path is much easier. However, most people who have decided they want a career change don’t actually know what that career change should be. This is the most difficult question to answer but once you know it, the rest falls into place.
Unsure what sort of career you’d like to go into? Check out our Career Quiz.
Take a step back and reflect on what you want
Whoa, that’s heavy isn’t it? However, it’s something you need to consider. Why do you really want to make this career change? Is it something that could be fixed in your current place of employment, do you just need a change of scenery or is a complete career change what you need?
A Media Manager at a high profile professional sports club in Melbourne decided he didn’t want to do that job anymore, so approached his CEO and asked to become the Digital Manager. The only problem was that role didn’t exist but the employee stated the need for the creation of the role and the CEO agreed. The employee did a couple of courses courtesy of the club and stepped into the new role.
A lady working in finance decided she wanted a complete career change, so did a pottery course. Now she makes and sells her own range of crockery in her own thriving homewares store in Melbourne. A significant career change can take place in a number of ways.
Time to think about your personality
Now that you’ve decided how you want to approach your career change – either staying with your current employer in a different role, changing employers, or changing careers completely – it’s time to drill down into what makes you tick. This is the point where you ask yourself:
- Who am I?
- If money were no object, what would I want to do?
- What am I interested in outside of work, can I turn these into a career?
- What standards do I value, what ideals do I have, is there any industry I simply wouldn’t feel comfortable working in from a moral standpoint?
- Am I an introvert or an extrovert?
- Do I want to work with people or by yourself?
- Do I want to work with my hands, in front of a computer, on the road, etc.?
At this point, don’t hold back on what your career possibilities could be or how you can get there.
What skills do you have?
If you’ve been in the workforce for a while you will have acquired many skills, some of you may not even be aware. Take the time to write them down and reflect on them. How many of these skills are transferrable to other careers? Which of these skills would you like to take with you to your next career? Which skills are you happy to leave behind?
For example, secondary school teachers have skills that could be transferrable to careers in corporate training or journalism, so think outside the square. Once you know definitively what your skills are, and more importantly what skills you would like to develop, your ability to choose your next career move will become clearer.
Top 5 Skills for a Secondary Teacher
- Reading Comprehension – 82% important
- Speaking – 88% important
- Critical Thinking – 78% important
- Active Listening – 78% important
- Instructing – 80% important
Top 5 Skills for a Journalist
- Reading Comprehension – 85% important
- Speaking – 80% important
- Critical Thinking – 75% important
- Active Listening – 85% important
- Writing – 82% important
Ask people close to you for help
While it’s vital you go through the process of asking questions about yourself, sometimes the answers are either difficult to figure out, or just plain wrong. It’s a bit like looking in the mirror and seeing someone completely different from how other people see you.
That’s why it’s important for you to talk to people you trust and who know you well. This could include family members and friends, but arguably the most important people you can talk to our work colleagues. Ask them for their opinion on potential career change options and why they think you’d be suited to those roles. Ask them for their opinions on what skills you have and what personality traits you have. They may be able to clarify what you’re capable of, what you’re strengths and weaknesses are, and what you were put on this Earth to do.
Time to do some online research
By now you will understand what you stand for, what your skills are, and what industries may interest you. You will have gained a deeper understanding of who you are and where you want to go through a combination of introspection and feedback from friends, family, and colleagues.
Now it’s time to look through all of the courses available to study here at Training.com.au. You’ll be able to see the vast opportunities available in relation to the industries you’re interested in and the skills and personality traits you have. You’ll get a deeper understanding of study commitments and costs required to pursue a new career you may be interested in, while also learning what new skills you’ll learn along the way.
Studying doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive or take a long time. There are many courses that are quite short, inexpensive, and can be done while you continue to work in your current role. You certainly don’t have to turn your life upside down to transition from your current job into a new career.
Talk to people in the field you think you might like to pursue
There’s only one way to go about finding out what it’s really like to work in the field you’ve decided you want to pursue, without actually working in it yourself – talk to someone with experience in that area! It sounds simple but you’d be surprised how many people won’t do any research before diving headfirst into a new career. Most people either know someone in that field, or their friends and family may know someone.
However, if all else fails, call someone on the telephone and ask him or her out for lunch. What’s the worst they can say, no? That’s a small price to pay to make sure you’re pursuing the right career, isn’t it? Most people will happily accept a free lunch and tell you what you need to know. Perhaps you could even ask to spend a few days with them to gain a true perspective of what you might be getting yourself into. Again, what’s the worst they can say? It’s the best insight you’ll get into whether your potential new career direction is right for you.
Take your time
This is a big decision you're making so don't go rushing into it
Make sure you’ve thoroughly assessed your needs, gauged the thoughts of others, and spoken to people in the industry you think you might like to pursue. All of this doesn’t take a day or two and there are no time limits on how long it should take. Just make sure you have all of the information in front of you and you’re making an informed decision. Generally speaking, people make a career change mistakes when they do so on impulse rather than research.
Don't be afraid of failure or trying multiple careers to ultimately end up where you want to be
Unlike when our grandparents were pursuing careers, we are more likely to have multiple careers and employers understand this. Finding out what you don’t want to do is a step closer to realising your dream career. However, before making the big decision to change careers, make sure your career goals and lifestyle goals marry up. If you want to be able to spend every weekend with your kids there’s no point in becoming a police officer no matter how much the career appeals to you.
So, what are you waiting for?
It’s time to sign up for the course that will take you one step closer to your ultimate career. And don’t forget, while doing the course, make sure your network at every opportunity. Often people find their next career move from people they meet. As the old saying goes, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know’. Studying will offer many opportunities to meet people in the industry.
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