The new year is often time for change in many areas of our lives. It’s when we take time to reflect on the past, instigate some new habits and set goals! It’s also a time when many people consider changing jobs or careers. If you’ve already begun the process, good for you! Now give yourself some time to ensure success.
Changing jobs is a big deal, but if you’re looking for a bigger career change, this can be an even bigger decision for many people. If you’ve made that decision already – congratulations! You owe it to yourself to ensure you enjoy going to work each day. We’ve compiled a step-by-step guide of all the areas you need to think about to help ensure you are ready for your next step – professionally, emotionally, and financially.
STEP 1 – think about whether it really is your career that needs to change or if your current role just isn’t satisfying you. Make a list of all your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Once you have completed that, look outside your current role, industry, and/or company to determine what aligns with your strengths and likes. We often find clients who are great at what they do and are in a job that is seemingly a good fit for them, but the company they work for is not ideal. It is very important at this stage to understand where your issues actually lie before embarking on a complete career change. If it’s the job you dislike, perhaps a similar job in a different industry or environment would make you happier. If it’s certain aspects of your current role you dislike, there might be an opportunity to diversify and take on a role with different responsibilities.
STEP 2 – once you have decided you would like to change careers, narrow down the direction you’d like to pursue. If you are unsure, consider taking a career assessment and meeting with a Career Advisor to better understand your interests and personality type, which can help you narrow down some new career choices. Research careers using online resources such as those found in our previous Useful Career Resources and Tools article.
STEP 3 – from the overview you’ve developed, decide how you might be able to make a change. You may have a lot to consider before you make your transition, including financial, family and study considerations. Analyse your financial situation and how that could be affected. Look for gaps in your resume and work out how to fill them. Do you need to undertake further study? Can some or all of the study be completed part-time while still working? Investigate opportunities to complete volunteer work. Think about the fact that many careers look great to an outsider, but the reality of the day-to-day job isn’t so interesting. Seek out and talk to people already working in your area of interest to gain a better understanding of their opinions and experiences to help you become more informed.
STEP 4 – contact employers and recruiters that specialise in your new field or industry. It’s important to proactively and enthusiastically hunt for your new role. Set up job alerts on online job sites and make sure you get out there and network with existing and new contacts.
STEP 5 – prepare your application material and update LinkedIn and other social media accounts. Tailor your application materials for every role you apply for – particularly the cover letter. We see too many people sending off applications that aren’t tailored to the role and then wonder why they don’t hear back. Pay particular attention to any selection criteria requirements and ensure you have responded in the way the recruiter has requested.
STEP 6 – take some time to prepare and practice for interviews. You may be the best candidate for the role, but if you don’t perform well in the interview, it’s unlikely you’ll progress. See our article this month ‘How to prepare for an interview without sounding like a robot’ for more tips.
Changing careers can be a very rewarding experience, but will require strong courage and conviction from you. It will most likely involve lots of hard work – especially if you need to complete additional training or study. Taking an honest look at why you want to change careers and what you hope to achieve is a great first step to ensuring a successful career change.