You may have taken the time to attend university to become an expert in your field , or maybe you were able to get the opportunity to join an organisation quite early and develop into one. However, after some years of working your way through your career, you want to switch to another line of work, perhaps a more creative career which is completely different from what you have been doing for the past couple of years. If this sounds like you, you are most likely nervous.
With numerous questions running through your mind, you wonder if a career change is even possible. The answer is, yes, it is possible. However, you have to be willing to take the necessary steps to gain the career of your dreams. This article aims to provide you with a step by step guideline on how to choose a new path.
You wouldn’t be making this change if you were satisfied in your chosen industry. However, rather than simply suffering in misery, you may eventually have to take a ‘calculated’ risk and go for something different.
At first you might be unsure of what to do, most people usually are, but you won’t know until you start to consider the things you enjoy, have genuine interests in, and are good at; only then can you begin your journey of figuring out how that can translate into your new career.
Having finally come to the conclusion that your current situation is no longer desirable, there will be an instinctive urge to quit what you currently do. Remember not to be hasty in your decision, and whilst a career change can be a great thing, rushing blindly into something new can also lead to disaster. It’s unlikely that you’ll get it right the first time, so don’t be discouraged if you fail, dust yourself off and try again, however it’s important that you approach this decision with purpose and commitment until you locate your calling.
Given you are ready to switch careers, and are already following your instinct, you have to be purposeful when you begin your job search.
The aim here is to not only find something that resonates with you but to also ensure you do not select something that does not speak to you and will make you unhappy, thereby cycling the entire process again.
Clearly define what it is you want and that qualifies you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new field for you. When you do not operate with clarity in the beginning you simply do everything with a hint of anxiety. It is at this moment you try to determine what goals you want to achieve and how they make sense to you. Are these goals attainable and appropriate for you?
While your resume might not contain the experience that pertains to your newly chosen field, you should concentrate on highlighting your transferable skills. These skills are those that any company would want their staff to possess. Career coaches state that after a few years as an employee, your transferable skills should move to the forefront of your CV. The following are transferable skills:
Communication, if you can seamlessly develop relationships, properly manage conflict, as well as positively influence people.
How well you can adapt to change
Leadership, you have team management or leadership skills which cause those around you to look to you.
How capable are you are solving complicated problems? Are you able to discover an opportunity that lies within chaos and adversity?
Take the time out to really research your new career path to figure out which of your valuable skills are most transferable. Once this is done, highlight them on your CV.
When you show your CV, use facts and hard numbers. Rather than simply stating you have managed efficiently in your past, it is better to highlight that you “alleviated the effects a £400,000 revenue shortfall had on operation and expansion programs, and led an awareness campaign that turned revenue shortfall into a £250,000 revenue profit in less than 12 months”
Just as you did in your prior role, networking is an integral part of putting yourself and your skills out there.
When you place yourself in situations to network, you discover you’re able to liaise with industry professionals about current happenings, organisations hiring and trends. Doing this also enables you to clearly signal your intent to switch careers. You just can’t apply for jobs in an industry you are unfamiliar with, you have to take advantage of your network by putting the word out there concerning your job search and take the necessary steps that ensure you are well placed when an opportunity arises.
One thing to note when networking, however, is to refrain from asking someone you are meeting for the first time for a job. While that shows eagerness, this just seems rude and presumptuous. It is always better to nurture that relationship before making requests. The same goes for asking a new acquaintance to become your reference.
The purpose of networking is to create a mutually beneficial relationship and should always consider more than just the industry you intend to go into. Careers and industries today are much more fluid, so possessing a network that extends farther than your skillset can often give you an advantage when you make a career move.
Rather than searching for specific types of individuals to help create your network, instead, discover ways to organically meet people using shared interests other than work. You can pick up a hobby, join a yoga class, and begin talking to those in it. Volunteer, find an event happening in your community and become a part of it. The aim of this isn’t to talk about careers and industries, but rather to expand your network of acquaintances.
It does not matter if you have done everything you need to do, to begin your career change. If you stop yourself from applying for a role because you might be rejected, the speed at which your career change happens will be very slow
If your current role or workplace feels a little suffocating or toxic, doing something tangible towards a solution can help alleviate this. If you want to work for a particular company then send in an application. It doesn’t matter if you don’t receive a response or the response is negative. This is much better than simply doing nothing.
Applying provides you with an energy that can be invigorating, to say the least.
Each of these steps work in isolation, however, the most effective way to make a career change is to combine every one of these steps to be successful.
One thing to remember, however, is that changing your career won’t be as seamless as you might believe, but with determination and having the right guidance anything is possible.
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