The 7 Steps in Making a Career Change
Are you in need of a change of scene?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an intern or a CEO; it’s never too early or too late to make a career change. It’s estimated that the average person will have up to 15 different jobs during their career. Still, changing directions can seem pretty daunting, especially if you’re looking to try something completely different.
Don’t worry! With these seven easy steps, you’ll be happily job-hopping in no time.
Think about your criteria
There are lots of things to consider beyond the actual role that you’d like to have. Would you like to work in a big company or a small start-up? Are you happy to sit at a desk all day, or would you prefer to be working on location? Is the opportunity to travel important to you, or are you looking for somewhere close to home to minimise your commute?
Make a list of the things that are important to you and narrow your search.
Make a list of your transferable skills
Just because you’ve never held a certain role before, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a ton of skills that make you the perfect person for the job.
Say you’ve been working as a buyer for a department store. That means that you’ve got top-notch research skills that enable you to stay on top of trends, you’re great at communicating and negotiating with suppliers to get the best deals, and you’re able to analyse situations to make a decision that benefits your company.
Pull out the key words there and you’ve got research, communication, negotiation and analysis — all fantastic skills that you can apply to a ton of other roles. Make a list of the skills you’ve got to bring to the table, then see which job descriptions you can match them up to.
Make a list of occupations that you think you’d like – and explore them!
I know, I know, lists are featuring heavily in this post. Still, they’re super useful for organising your research and tracking your progress. Now that you’ve got an idea of your ideal working environment and the kind of skills you’ve got to offer, it’s time to start narrowing down your options.
There are two ways of going about making your list of occupations. Firstly, you could take a look at your skills and do some research into jobs you’re already qualified to do.
This is the perfect approach if your reasons for leaving your job are more to do with the location, industry or working environment. It may be that you’ve realised you’re not that invested in the cause for which you are working, or that you’d like to try working for a start-up rather than an established company. By moving your skills to a new setting, you’ll be able to develop them in new ways and take your abilities in a totally different direction.
Secondly, you could think of something completely new that you’ve always wanted to try, or that you’ve recently discovered and decided that you’d like to pursue. There’s a good chance that you’ll already have a ton of the skills that you need, but there may be a few more that you need to develop. Don’t worry — we’ve got advice on that too!
Explore different ways to develop new skills
Say that you’ve realised exactly what you want to do, looked at your list of transferable skills and realised that you’re lacking a few key skills that will help you land that dream job. That’s no reason to give up! There are plenty of ways to go about building new skills and gaining extra experience.
If you need more experience in working as part of a team, why not sign up to volunteer at an event with a charity of your choice? If you’re lacking in hard skills that you can only learn from a qualified teacher, then this doesn’t have to get in your way, either. There are plenty of evening courses happening across the country, and you could even consider university. The Open University have a ton of courses for you to choose from and offer a flexible approach to learning that you can fit in around your busy timetable.
Use your contacts and ask for advice
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, even Instagram — you’re sitting on a goldmine of contacts that you could be asking for help with your career move. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential careers, start firing out emails to everyone you can. Make sure you follow people from your chosen industries on Twitter and join some LinkedIn Groups to find more connections.
If you’d like to get in touch with someone you don’t already know, see if you have a friend who can introduce you, or write a polite email requesting 10 minutes of their time. It sounds pretty daunting but the world is packed full of interesting, lovely people who are sure to be able to give you advice. Reach out to them!
Shape your CV
Now that you’ve done your research and decided which industry, company or role you’re aiming for, it’s time to get down to the details. Take a look at your CV and see how you can tailor it to your goal role. Emphasise your transferable skills and make sure you add any extra skills and experience you’ve gained through volunteering or studying.
Remember, you should tailor your CV to each job application. Take a look at the key words used in the job description and use them where you can. Make sure that everything on your CV points to you as the perfect person for the job, and don’t be put off by lack of direct experience. You’ve got a lot to offer!
Set yourself some goals
The idea of setting a goal a long way in the future can seem pretty daunting. If that’s your style then you go, superstar! Get those goals down on paper and keep going until you get there.
However, if you’re someone who’s worried about changing your mind or interested in exploring different options along the way, then that’s perfectly okay too. Set yourself little goals like working in a certain sector for a year, or giving a certain position a try. You could even set yourself teeny tiny goals like emailing a contact or sending in a job application. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and every little step you take is a huge achievement.
Whether you set goals on a daily, monthly or yearly basis, write yourself a little list and feel like a mighty person every time you make one a reality. We know you can do it!