No matter what stage of life you’re at, realising that your passion or skills rest along a new career path is an exhilarating feeling. If you’re considering taking that leap into a new career in 2015, it’s important to be prepared.
Career changes take time and planning to ensure success. Creating a detailed plan from the beginning will help your career change go smoothly. If you are considering a change in 2015, now is a great time to create a plan:
- Work out a step-by-step plan that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be (your goal)
- Think about the timeline of your career change – do you want to be ready in 3 months, 6 months or 12 months?
- Consider how the career change will also affect your lifestyle and finances, particularly if your new job/industry will be demanding or if you’ll be on a lower salary
Seeking Out Insider Knowledge
Other professionals in your desired field can shed lots of light on what it’s really like to work, survive and thrive in the industry.
- Find ways to connect with others in your new industry, whether via online networking (e.g. LinkedIn) or through face-to-face events and informal meet-ups arranged by people in your existing network
- Let professionals know that you’re keen to change careers and start building relationships as soon as possible
- Think about what questions you want to ask each individual and how they can help you achieve your goals
- Go into networking meetings prepared to talk about yourself, your skills and your ambitions
- Consider seeking out a mentor to help guide your career transition
If you haven’t got loads of experience or knowledge in your new industry, education can help your career change immensely.
Consider what the basic educational requirements or qualifications will be and incorporate these into your change plan. You could:
- Undertake a short course in the relevant field
- Complete a Certificate or Diploma at TAFE
- Complete a Bachelor’s degree (or higher) at University
- Attend related workshops, conferences, seminars or talks
- Engage in skills training that could benefit you in your new career (e.g. computer skills, behavioural skills, leadership skills)
Loading Up On Experience
Work experience in the relevant field can take you a long way when changing careers. It can serve to expand your skills, and also help you find new employment more quickly.
- Could you take on a voluntary role to increase your experience and skills?
- Are there any internships available in your field that could benefit you?
- Are any of your current skills and talents transferable to a new job or industry, and if so, how can you continue to cultivate these?
Learning to be Flexible
Changing careers won’t always mean that you’ll be stepping into your dream job straight away. To achieve your goals, you’ll need to keep an open mind as to what roles you take on:
- Be flexible when considering new positions; remember that you may often need to go back to basics and start building your new career from the ground up
- Get to know the entry-level or junior positions available in your field – what duties and responsibilities do these involve?
- If you’re obliged to lower your salary, consider how this might affect your lifestyle and expenses
Preparing on the Personal Level
When it’s time to “ready-set-change!” (and start applying for jobs) you’ll need to ensure you’re prepared on a personal level for the leap ahead.
- Learn as much as you can about your industry and stay abreast of current news, trends and developments
- Make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are both up to scratch
- Take the time to prepare for interviews and learn to sell yourself and your talents – why should a new employer take a risk and hire you?
- Dedicate time to understanding your skills and strengths, as well as your weaknesses and areas for improvement
- Do a final ‘stocktake’ or assessment to make sure the career change is right for you!
With lots of planning and guidance, changing careers can be entirely do-able!
- Build your knowledge and education
- Gain experience where possible
- Network and learn from others
- Market your talents as much as you can