You know the signs: bored at work, getting no job satisfaction, feeling underutilised and longing to use other skills or to get a better work life balance. All these feelings mean it’s time to reassess your career – after all, it’s how you spend the majority of your waking life.
Quite often we don’t choose our career, we fall into it and we wake up after years of hard work and determination and realise that it wasn’t what we ever wanted anyway.
The important thing is to ask yourself the questions: How do I want to spend my time? What do I want out of life? And what do I really want to do? These aren’t easy to answer (and even harder when we’re young), so if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night with an epiphany-style sense of clarity that something’s not right, a change has to be made. So, when planning a career change here are five things to do…
Once you’ve decided what field you’d like your new career to be in it’s time to become a bit of a sleuth. Take to the classifieds and look to see what employers are requesting employees to have for your desired role. Try and meet a few people who are doing your new career so there are no illusions about what exactly is involved. Also, it’s important to find out what is the career path to obtaining the job of your dreams – working up through the ranks, gaining experience in different types of businesses or gaining very specific qualifications.
Hedge Your Bets
If at all possible try to juggle your existing job with what you need to do to land the role you want. If this means doing a distance learning course or night class, gaining experience during annual leave, or even taking on small contracts that can be done on the weekend, then so be it. Think short-term pain for long-term gain.
Nearly always there will be some retraining involved in your career change. Unless you are in the very privileged position to quit work and enrol in a full-time course the options are a flexible distance learning course, night class or on-the-job learning. Training and studying can be costly but if you’ve done your research and are able to juggle work and study it’s almost always worth the hardship in the end.
The best way to learn is by developing knowledge through experience. Industry experience will land you in good stead when being interviewed as you can draw on real life lessons and adapted lessons learnt in other situations. The best way to gain experience initially is to offer your services either free (in a work experience scenario, if you’re just starting out) or at a reduced rate (if you’re more experienced). This way, you can prove to the employer that you are indispensable – and hopefully land a job or, at the very least, a good reference.
Social media is a wonderful way to ‘meet’ people and get a foot in the door. Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are the best three social media platforms to start your cyber knowledge development. Start by following people who are experts in your new career, then organisations and businesses related to that field. This will not only keep you up-to-date with industry developments, it will also help when it’s time to apply for a position.
There are some great sites to help you through the process of changing career; one we think is extremely helpful is Nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk, as it covers general careers advise as well as CV building tools.
There’s no doubt about it, changing career is a daunting process. But it’s also a personal journey that leads to self-development and a new way of life. Nearly always, though, there are some sacrifices to be made along the way – but in the end the benefits outweigh the short-term strain.
Like this post on what to do when it’s time for a career change? Check out our piece on how to decide on a career.
Or if you’re looking to make the next step in your career, browse our range of Level 3 Diplomas.