It’s not unusual for some people to realise several years down the line that they’re stuck in a rut and looking for a change. Making a career change can be such an inspiring and invigorating time, however, it can also seem daunting, confusing and a bit scary! Before you jump into the water headfirst, here are five essential steps you should never skip.
1. Ask yourself why you are considering making a career change
Reflect, self-evaluate and make notes as you think things over. Figure out why you need to leave your job and look for something else. Perhaps you’re bored with your role and unable to grow, or maybe your interests have evolved.
As you reflect on this, think about what you want as well. What would you rather do, given the choice? What’s stopping you from doing it? Finding out whether you have a practical alternative to your current job can help make the transition easier.
2. Conduct a skill and experience inventory
Evaluate your skills, strengths, and abilities, as well as your work experience. In doing so, you may find that you possess certain skills and experiences that are transferrable — meaning you can apply these even when you’re in a totally different role or job. These can include leadership, communication, finance, teamwork, stakeholder relations and project management.
Perhaps you’ve had several years of sales experience before working in customer service — both types of work experience can help in your future career as they would have taught you to be both persuasive and diplomatic.
3. Explore your career prospects
Make sure you assess the job market and find out what your career prospects are. Visit employment websites, ask people in the industry and get in touch with local recruiters. Doing this will also give you a better idea of your prospective role’s job description, as well as requirements and average salary.
4. Gain relevant experience and upgrade your knowledge and skills
If you already have a clear idea of what you want to do, try to find ways to gain some experience without necessarily leaving your current job. Consider joining a committee at your work, shadowing a colleague, volunteering or studying as a way of updating your knowledge and skills.
5. Keep growing your professional network
Whether you plan on changing careers in a few months or after a year, you should always grab opportunities to expand your network. Having an extensive network may make a difference in your ability to land a new job right away.
If you think your network is too small, think again! Remember, your network includes all of your workmates — past and present — as well as friends, schoolmates, and family members. You can also grow your network by attending professional courses, seminars, and workshops or by joining professional organisations.
You may not know it, but your network may already be organically growing as you get involved in community activities, deal with external suppliers or participate in events. Remember, you don’t need to have people in your network who are involved in your career or industry exclusively. Even if they’re not in the same field as you, they might know someone who is.
Remember to be flexible when making a career change
Things may be difficult at first; but, as they say, anything worth having doesn’t come easy. So be ready to persevere and don’t allow yourself to get distracted from your goals by a few setbacks. You can also check out the Leaders in Heels Aspire Career Designer to help you plan out your career!
About the author of ‘Making a Career Change’ – Oli Kang
Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au.