Switching careers can be a traumatizing experience. While you’re looking forward to new and exciting opportunities, there are so many uncertainties and unknowns that it can feel like too daunting a prospect to face. With that said, navigating this difficult maze is essential if you want to maximize your potential and do something you truly love instead of being stuck in a job about which you’re no longer passionate. Here are 9 tips to bear in mind if you’re looking to change your career anytime soon.
The first and most important tip to bear in mind is not to simply walk away from your job. You might hate what you’re doing, and that’s a perfectly natural way to feel; masking your true feelings about your career is only going to do damage in the long run. Still, your job is likely to be paying the bills, at least for now, so rather than walking out dramatically, plan your exit carefully and methodically. Try to have another job lined up before you leave if possible, but if you absolutely can’t guarantee this, then at the very least check with your partner or housemates that they can support you.
Keeping your cash reserves up is essential if you want to change your career. The last thing you want is to run out of money while you’re in the middle of chasing your dreams, meaning you won’t be able to make any progress. Having a solid cash reserve is always the best way to go about this, but you could also look into quick loans from reputable providers if you need money within a short space of time. Talking to friends and family and asking if they’re willing to shore you up – even if it’s with a temporary loan – can also be a good method.
Don’t just jump headfirst into a new career. Before you embark on any new job opportunity, be sure to conduct extensive research so that you know what you’re up against. After all, it could turn out that the realities of the job you want don’t match your dreams, and then you’ll have to quit your current job for nothing. Talk to people currently working in your new field, network with them, and ask them questions about their job (if they’re willing to answer, of course!).
If you want to establish yourself in a new career path, networking is absolutely critical. A majority of jobs are filled through networking rather than an earnest effort on the applicant’s part, and while you shouldn’t let that dissuade you from trying your best during the application process, you should think about networking. Hand a business card to everyone you meet who’s relevant to your new job. You never know when those connections might come in handy, after all.
Personal branding is an important part of seeking a job these days. You’ll need to make sure all of your personal brandings are up to date. That means scouring your social media to ensure it reflects who you are and where you’re at right now in your career. You might also consider creating a website for yourself. Many employers like to see personal websites for their potential employees; it shows you have faith and belief in yourself and that you take your branding seriously.
While your career is, of course, very important, it shouldn’t take precedence over your mental health. If you interview for a job and it just doesn’t feel right for you, then no matter how great an opportunity it would be, don’t take it. You’ll only start to regret accepting the position some weeks in, and you’ll realize you should have waited. Make sure any new career position you’re applying to is the right one for you. Talk to friends, family, and even your potential new employer if they’re amenable.
There are so many career benefits to volunteering that it’s a wonder more people don’t do it. Not only will you be lending your expertise to a worthy cause, but you’ll also gain valuable experience and potential networking contacts along the way as well. Your chosen career might not accommodate volunteering, but if it does, it’s definitely worth giving up some of your time to volunteer if you can. Employers love to see volunteering on your CV, as it shows you’re dedicated and committed.
Unfortunately, studying for a new qualification – especially when you’re an adult learner – can set you back a considerable amount of money, so this is only an option if you have savings you’re willing to part with. Studying a course in your new career can be a serious boost to your prospects, though, so if you are in a position to do so, we’d heartily recommend it. Make sure to research potential institutions so that you know you’re studying with the best of the best.
It’s all very well wanting to change careers, but if you don’t create a concrete plan that you can act, you might as well just be dreaming. Sit down and ask yourself what the next steps are for you to change your career. It could be discussing your decision with a careers officer, talking to your employer about the next steps, or researching your new job. Whatever you do first – and this will change based on your situation – make sure you do it as quickly as possible rather than just thinking about it.