Changing track – approaching a career change

— October 17, 2011

Feeling jaded with your career?

Are you years or decades into a job choice you made when you were younger and are finding that it just doesn’t fit the bill or make you happy any more? Here are some things to remember when considering a change of career:

1. It is never too late. It is more important in life to undertake work that makes you happy then to assume that it can never happen because you have invested so many years in a different career. Be positive, be brave, it won’t happen unless you make it happen. It is down to you.

2. So many skills are transferrable. Sit down with a pen and paper right now and write down all the skills that you think are generic enough to apply to other roles. If you don’t get anywhere ask someone who knows you well to do so. You may well be surprised at how long the list is. The time you have invested in your current career is not wasted.

3. Think through the financial implications. Is your new career less lucrative than the first? Do you need to take unpaid time out to retrain? What needs to happen as a result? Look at your outgoings and think of ways to spend less money and make it happen. Talk things through with your family. Is it more important to you to be fulfilled and happy at work or to have more money? You need to weigh up what matters most.

4. ‘Try out’ your new career. Get some experience. Do some voluntary work. Make connections in the sector and use them. Plan in time to do this. That way you won’t jump ship without making sure that it is for you.

5. Not sure where to start? Phone up prospective employers and ask about entry requirements. Find out where jobs are advertised. Be cheeky and phone up organisations, use existing connections and find new ones. Use a coach to help keep you motivated if you are struggling and get support from your family and friends.

6. Call in the professionals. I have found a fantastic organisation called ‘Careershifters’. They have a very useful website and offer workshops, expert advice, free top tips, and a 70 page e-book (just £19 at the time of writing). They also and profile lots of sucess stories that will help get you motivated and see what others have done. Their website is at www.careershifters.org.

The following tips are from someone who dramatically changed their career and has kindly offered to share her experience….

7. Remember that it could be hard work, may involve sacrifices/compromises and you may constantly question if you are doing the right thing, so make sure the new career is something you are passionate about and stay focused.

8. Talk to other people who have successfully changed career for advice and empathy.

9. Allow yourself regular time slots to think through problems and resolve any issues that come up. Find something that removes you from the everyday goings-on that allows you to really think about things, or to drift off for a while, such as swimming, getting out into the countryside, or any activity where you do not have to concentrate and are not disturbed.

10. If things get difficult, remember that you only live once, and that you don’t want to spend that life stuck in a job that you are not enjoying, or does not make the most of your abilities.

Have you changed career? Please share your tips and advice below.

I hope the information is useful and good luck.

Claire

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