5 tips for a successful career change

If you already have a career, switching can be risky, but there are ways of giving yourself the best chance to achieve success.

Evaluate your skills and interests

Asking yourself what interests you can be a good way to narrow down your possible career options. Some other ways include making a list of your skills and thinking about what matters to you in a job. Are you good with people or do you prefer to work alone using your own initiative? Is it important to you to work a traditional 5-day 9-5 week, or do you need something more flexible? These are just some of the questions you could ask yourself if you need to figure out what career might suit you best.

Consider alternative careers

After you’ve made a list of your skills and values, you can match them to your interests and narrow down your possible career options. It could be something completely different from what you’re doing now or a different role in the same industry. Some of your existing skills may be transferable to other roles.

Do research

Research is important. You don’t want to get stuck in a new job only to find out it’s not what you thought it would be. The internet is a good first step for researching possible career changes, but you could also try voluntary work to get a taste of the kind of work you’re interested in. You can do this for just a few hours a week for as long as you like, before deciding if it’s something you want to pursue.

You might also want to check the vacancies for different careers to get an idea of how many openings there are, what the hours and pay are likely to be and if anything is available in your area.

Be prepared

There are several things you should be prepared to do. If there are fewer openings where you live, you might want to consider moving or ask yourself how far you’re prepared to travel. Are you prepared to accept a lower salary to be able to work closer to home or in a career you enjoy more than your current one, or would you work longer hours to earn the same or more money?

Upgrade your skills

You may to need learn additional skills or gain new qualifications to pursue your chosen career change. If you’re not in the position to take time off work or stop working, then you can look for courses to fit around your working hours or try distance learning. A simple search should provide plenty of results for flexible learning. If you’re looking to switch roles in the same organisation, your employer may even offer training to prepare you for your new role.

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