A potential career change is an exciting yet daunting prospect for many workers. While the idea of transforming your professional life is enticing, it is also important that you carefully map out your career change before taking the big leap.
Visualise what you would like your professional life to look like in five years’ time and establish a solid career plan that will guide you to that place. Break down what you’d like to achieve into attainable goals, and make sure you keep a realistic outlook on your prospects. Planning your career in this way will provide clarity on whether an industry change is a step in the right direction.
Make use of your network of professional and personal contacts to connect with someone who has experience in your desired field. Having an actual conversation with them to investigate the pros and cons, responsibilities and working conditions of their job will provide you with invaluable insight. If you’re really serious about a career switch, try to arrange some work experience – gaining some first-hand perspective of the role without actually committing can help you decide if this job will be the right fit for you.
Go back to school
Seeking out further education is a great way to prepare yourself for alternative career paths. Developing skills and knowledge that are relevant to your new field will not only enhance your suitability for the role, but can also boost your confidence as you undertake a huge professional change.
Seek professional advice
If you feel in need of some extra clarity, why not consult with a recruitment professional or career coach? Speaking with a careers expert can help you to identify existing transferrable skills, relevant qualifications and alternative pathways that you may not have considered. It is also good to have someone evaluate if you actually need a new job in your current field rather than a full-blown career change.
Aim too high
It is important to consider that a career change could be accompanied by a serious pay cut or commencement in an entry-level position. Be honest and realistic about your prospects, and prepare yourself for a potential ‘demotion’ from your previous job level.
Career changes aren’t a decision to be made overnight. Don’t rush into an industry move until you have thoroughly considered how it will impact every aspect of your life and what it will actually do for your career in the long run.
Let failure set you back
Whether you are struggling to take the first step or didn’t end up landing the job, it is important to remember that failure will likely be a part of the career change process. Switching industries is a big risk, but you will learn more about yourself and the world from the process than if you’d stayed in a job that didn’t inspire you.
Feel restricted by age
Many recruiters agree that there isn’t just one chance to switch careers during your lifetime – in fact, regular changes are quite common as people continue to shift between jobs and industries that appeal to them. Career changes do not have an age restriction, so feel free to explore alternative pathways that will help you to achieve your professional goals.