How to make a successful career change

There comes a time, usually, after many years in a similar job, that you may wonder if it is time for a career change. You may or may not be happy at your current position, and you are likely feeling uninspired, unmotivated, bored, or all of the above.

Stepping out of your comfort zone can feel incredibly daunting, but it does not have to be. What's essential for a successful career change of any scale is targeted research and thorough preparation. Ahead, you would find the steps to help you maximise your chances of making a rewarding and fulfilling career change.

Step 1: Reflect on your preferences

To set the foundation for a successful career change you must first reflect on what really drives you. This will help you to determine the type of work you are most suited to, and open doors to careers you may not have considered.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you like or dislike about your current role and industry?
  • What has excited/bored you in past roles?
  • What are your personal interests and passions?
  • What are your key attributes, strengths and talents?
  • What would your ideal job look like?

Step 2: Research viable career change options

Based on your personal preferences, research some careers that appeal to you. Scan online career and job profiles to find out if the reality matches your expectations. Try to find out:

  • Roles that could suit your interests and abilities
  • The daily tasks involved in these roles and likely starting salary
  • If your skills, strengths and experience are transferable to the roles
  • The strength, stability and growth prospects of the industry

Step 3: Analyse your skills

Your career change will be smoother if you can find a role that builds on your existing skills. Think about the key transferable skills, strengths and experience you could bring to potential roles. Consider how past study and achievements could apply in a new context.

It’s also important to determine the skills you will need to bridge the gap to your new career. Research any additional training, education or experience you might need. If possible, try to volunteer or temp in your new industry to gain some experience before making your move.

Related: 7 crucial skills to adapt to the new future of work

Step 4: Expand your network

Get to know people who work in the field you want to enter. They may be able to offer you information and advice on your career change, introduce you to relevant people, supply you with job leads, or even provide referrals. Consider joining professional associations and seek out a mentor for advice on what it takes to succeed.

Step 5: Write a career change plan

Taking a strategic approach to your career change and following a structured plan will increase your chances of success. To get to your ultimate goal, list both short and long term milestones around education, skill development, networking and research and put a time frame around their achievement. Be sure to also refresh your job-search skills, so that you can seize any opportunities that arise.

Read more:
Honest reasons for leaving a job
How to know when it is time to resign
How to conduct yourself during your notice period

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