- The current, fast-changing world of work means many are thinking of switching careers.
- When making this switch, following certain steps can help you succeed and thrive in your new career.
- These include improving your skills to better fit the new job role you're seeking, networking more, and researching your chosen industry thoroughly.
Major changes and upheavals in recent months have presented a serious challenge, but they can also be a time for growth and transformation.
With many people having more time on their hands during lockdown, or instead having to adapt to a changing work situation, many are reconsidering their jobs, and even their whole careers.
This can be daunting, but also productive, as many studies have repeatedly shown that feeling happy and fulfilled in a professional role can have a knock-on effect in life and wellbeing overall.
If you are considering switching your job or career, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The seven simple steps below will help you to decide if this is a path which is right for you.
STEP 1. ASSESS YOUR CURRENT JOB
If you have a job currently and are considering changing roles (or even industries), first, do an honest assessment of your current role. It can be helpful to consider some of the ways in which you are enjoying the job, or finding it fulfilling, along with some of the ways that you are finding it limiting, or difficult.
Consider what your ideal job would look like. What would your hours and flexibility be? Would you work from an office, or be mainly remote? Would you manage projects and be in charge of a team, or work as self-sufficiently as possible?
While it may not be possible to meet all your ideal criteria right away, it can still be helpful and illuminating to honestly assess what is most important to you, and to what you truly aspire.
You may even find that there are ways your current job could perhaps meet your wishes and goals, if you were to make some changes, or discuss your ambitions with your boss. But in the event that this isn’t possible, or that you really feel it is time for a change, move on to step two.
STEP 2. DO YOUR RESEARCH
This step can, of course, be undertaken while still in the security of your current role, or else it can be a great way to structure your day, if you are between roles.
Using your list of ideals and aspirations for your job, now is the time to research potential opportunities. Are there any companies or start-ups that you really admire, which you can explore for vacancies?
If not, perhaps you can start more broadly, researching your chosen industry as a whole and some of the potential roles. You can then do research on job sites, and even set up alerts and notifications of certain keywords, so you are less likely to miss a posting.
Assess thoroughly if there is a market for your skills, and look for a role that could be a great starting point – especially if there is a clear path of advancement that would take you to your ideal job, or something close to it.
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STEP 3. PREPARE A NEW CV
For a new job, especially if you are changing industry, you will need a new CV to reflect your skills, aspirations, and relevant experiences.
For a total career switch, this can seem daunting at first. But perhaps begin by simply listing all your current skills and competences — and especially skills which would be transferable to a new role.
This might be team management, social media marketing, copywriting, preparing budgets, delivering presentations, customer service, using particular software programmes — any skill that you have developed through your current or previous jobs.
It can also be helpful for each skill to note down a few examples of when you best demonstrated that skill, or anything you achieved as a result of it, such as increasing sales, undertaking successful projects, earning promotions, winning awards, or simply receiving positive feedback.
Next, arrange your CV in the most concise and readable way. There are online templates available which can be helpful, as well as CV coaches and proofreaders who can really help to upgrade the appearance and readability of your new CV.
If you don’t need a conventional CV as such, like for example, if you are intending to start your own business, then perhaps spend this time developing a mission statement, or an About Me section of your website.
Knowing how your personal skills, experience, and insights offer value to others, is great for a CV and can also be essential for a business website.
STEP 4. GAIN EXPERIENCE
If you are changing industries, consider if there is a way for you to gain some firsthand experience or insight to ensure that this role really is for you. Perhaps there is a volunteering opportunity or an internship that is suitable, or even a conference or talk on the topic, which you could attend.
If you are intending to gain experience in running your own business, one of the best ways to gain insight is by talking to the people who have achieved it. Mentorship, guidance, and even support networks, can be essential for independent businesses.
STEP 5. MEET PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY
Networking can be about so much more than simply handing out your business card or attending an event. It can be a way to form genuinely meaningful relationships with other businesses who will support you, with you in turn supporting them.
STEP 6. UPGRADE YOUR SKILLS
Some of the earlier steps have focused on areas that you could work on, or skills that you will need for your new role. Try not to be discouraged at this point. Learning is possible at any age, on any budget, and you can build your skills in your own time.
Research if there are courses you can attend, either in-person or online. Many online learning platforms are reputable and affordable, while industry-specific programmes and software tools often have their own affiliated courses, for example.
There are even ways to upgrade your skills on a budget, simply by reading widely and studying related YouTube videos.
List the skills you would like to improve or develop, some ideas for how you could achieve this (such as by attending courses, or reading specific books), and then get started!
STEP 7. WORK ON YOUR MINDSET
It may seem an unconventional approach, but in times of change and challenge, it can be your mindset which makes the biggest difference. Top athletes, entrepreneurs, and performers are all investing in their own psychological wellbeing, and perhaps everyone else should be too.
Encourage yourself as you would a friend. Think realistically, but also creatively and positively. Aim for a good balance of productivity and downtime, while celebrating the small steps, as well as the big results.
Vast numbers of people have successfully changed their career, and with small, smart steps there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to join them.
We spend a vast amount of our lives working, and life is simply too short to be in a job you hate. Nurture and encourage both your physical and mental wellbeing, and you will be in the very best position to seek a job that fulfils you and brings value to others!