Are These Excuses Blocking Your Career Change?
Career changes are becoming increasingly common, especially for those in their twenties. While job hopping is nothing out of the ordinary, most stick to or at least stay close to the area they are trained in.
But what if you want to do something else entirely? Are you a lorry driver day-dreaming of a life as a graphic designer? Are you an IT consultant consumed by the desire to open a smoothie bar?
Many people who consider career change dismiss the idea quickly. Perhaps they decide that they don’t have the training required, or they can’t afford to start out at the bottom of another career ladder. While these are things that need to be taken into account, there should be no reason why making a change can’t be the best thing you’ll ever do.
Let’s tackle some of the typical offenders.
“I don’t have the training or skills for this job!”
If you lived in the 19th century, this might be a plausible excuse. Nowadays, however, the tools, education funding and free time that we largely take for granted mean that our options are broader than ever before.
The internet – an almost infinite source of information and pictures of cats in various predicaments – should not be underestimated. Aside from educational videos, forums, open learning websites and eBooks, you can also take courses online.
There are thousands of online courses to choose from, some accredited by respectable organisations, some free, some one-to-one and some interactive with other students. Online courses might not give you all that you’ll need to transform your portfolio, but it’ll both introduce you to a subject and, if you choose an accredited course, boost your CV record of training and education.
Colleges and universities are far more flexible and open than in the past. There’s been a real move towards increasing the ease with which people can train themselves up, with plenty of arrangements for funding and loans.
Take, for example, the Access To HE diploma, for those wanting to move to a more technical or academic field. This is an acceptable alternative to A Levels, which even the highest-ranking universities welcome. You can study Access courses full-time, part-time or online. The government is invested in people retraining themselves, so there is also a loan for Access courses, the debt of which is written off after finishing your degree.
All the study and skills development you need can be gained through proper use of your free time. And herein lies the issue for many people. Despite the host of machines that speed up everyday tasks, people still struggle to get even a minute of down-time, especially if they have children or demanding spouses.
If you feel you don’t have time, make it. Lower your hours at work, study in your lunch breaks or dedicate a few evenings a week to learning.
“I have no experience in this area!”
Nobody has any experience in anything – to start. How do students gain experience? Depending on their subject, they freelance, volunteer and take work placements or internships. This can work for you as well.
To get a foot in the door, you have to be willing to knock on it. Come up with creative ways of getting the experience you need. Try building useful connections by networking or getting a referral from a tutor or teacher. Offer to do some unpaid work or just start out a few hours a week. This is easier with smaller companies in need of passionate, self-motivated people to keep the wheels turning.
“I can’t afford it!”
When did money ever stop us from ordering a late-night pizza? Money is there – and, if it really isn’t, you’ll be eligible for a range of free training and education.
Having a proper budget might not be enough to fund your retraining. At this point, you have to consider your responsibilities and needs. Having dependants such as children or squatters will limit the cutbacks you can make.
Otherwise, you can set the limits of your personal austerity budget. Again, it comes back to how passionate and determined you are to transforming your profession and the sacrifices you are willing to make.
“What will my friends/family think?”
People will respond in a number of ways, but it shouldn’t be a reason to deter you. Some might laugh and dismiss it as a mid-life crisis, others will appreciate the emotion in your face as you describe your audacious plan to ditch carpentry to form a web development start-up.
This will be quite a revealing time for you, as you differentiate between people who would drag you down from those who would encourage you. Those who care the most may list a dozen things that might go wrong in your pursuit, but this comes from genuine concern for your well-being. These people are likely to be supportive if they feel you have thought your plan through properly.
“I will look unreliable to a potential employer.”
For any most employers, seeing the passion and hard work that has got you to the application stage translates very well in terms of employability. Employers are looking for people who genuinely want to do the job they are advertising; what better way to prove that than to have transformed your skillset – and demonstrated determination and perseverance by doing so?
Changing careers is no easy task. Be aware of the dangers and issues that could arise from it. However, once you’ve taken these into consideration and formulated a plan, there’s no reason you can’t take that first step!
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for marketing internship roles and giving out graduate careers advice. To browse graduate jobs and graduate jobs Manchester, visit their website.