While we know many people go through the process, it’s difficult to estimate how common changing careers is, or in fact, how many careers, on average we go through during our lifetime. A job for life is a thing of the past, however changing careers is still a daunting thought for many people. If you’re feeling like you need a change but you’re not sure where to start, follow this step by step plan to get you moving in the right direction.
- STEP 1 – Why – think about why you want a career change – is it really your career you need to change or is it just your job that doesn’t satisfy you? Often people are good at what they do, but the company they work for is not a good fit. It’s important to understand where your issues lie before embarking on a full career change. If it’s the job you dislike, then perhaps a similar job in a different industry or environment would make you happier. If you dislike certain aspects of your job, there might be an opportunity to diversify and take on a role with slightly different responsibilities.
- STEP 2 – What – once you have decided that you do want to change careers, you need to think about what direction you’d like to pursue. If you have no idea, you should think about what you enjoy doing as well as what you’re good at. List your current skills, and think about how you might be able to transfer those to a different area. Many people who come to us for career counselling don’t know what direction they want to head in. They want advice or confirmation that their interest in changing careers is valid and ideas on what direction to take. At this point, it’s important to involve other people – professionals, family, work colleagues you can trust – to help you clarify direction. You could also consider taking a career assessment to better understand your interests, values and personality and help you narrow down your choices.
- STEP 3 – How – from the overview you’ve developed, look at how you can make a change. Research different careers and highlight areas that best suit you and your interests. There are several online resources that might help here. Once you’ve narrowed down your options again, look at job search sites like Seek and MyCareer and identify what experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications you need to succeed.
- STEP 4 – When – start making a plan. You may have a lot to consider before deciding when to make your transition, including financial, family and study considerations. If you need to study, research providers and decide whether you can complete some study part-time while still working. Find out if there is an opportunity for volunteer work to help gain experience. Make a plan that will get you to where you need to be.
Changing careers can be a very rewarding experience, but will probably require strong commitment and activity from you. It may involve a lot of hard work – especially if you have to undertake additional training or study to achieve a required qualification. Take into consideration all the points mentioned above and start planning for a successful career change today.
If you would like assistance from a Career Coach with identifying areas for a career change, see our career counselling services. If you’re interested in discovering your personality type, see our Myers Briggs personality testing.