Big life changes are always challenging, and a career change can even be scary. It brings with it an unfamiliar environment and a new set of colleagues and often requires new skills. But with the right strategy, navigating the path to a new career is easy. Follow these 8 steps to successfully transition.
Assess Your Reasons for Wanting Change
When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut, it’s tempting to change your job. It will give you the freedom to pursue your deepest passions. But before you make a career change, assess your reasons for doing so.
Are you in search of a better work-life balance or just a change of pace? Do you need more fulfillment in your career, or is it purely a matter of needing a higher income? Honestly, answer these questions for a clearer idea of what comes next.
Consider Alternative Options at Your Current Workplace
Sometimes, it’s not the career path itself that is failing you but rather your particular position within the company or the work model you’re following.
Investigate whether a new role within another department may satisfy your needs or if a remote or hybrid work model is better for you. If you’ve concluded that a complete change of career is the answer, think about what it is that you’re qualified to do.
Consider Your Transferable Skills and Interests
Do your qualifications, skills, and expertise lend themselves well to an alternative career? If so, what are those other options, and will any of them meet the needs you identified in step one? Decide which of these alternatives interests you.
If you’re unsure of your interests, explore this side of yourself. There are countless online quizzes and other tools that can help you pinpoint your strengths and your passions.
Do the Necessary Research
Once you’ve established what you need out of a career and what your best alternatives are, it’s time to do the research. This will be based on what you established in Step 2. Do you need to acquire new skills or further your education to meet the requirements for your new career?
Find out what skills or qualifications you’ll need and how to get them. You may not even need to invest in further education and training. Do you know anyone in your newly chosen field who can mentor you? This is often the best way to prepare for transitioning to a new career.
Set Your Goals and Plan Your Schedule
Now that you know what you need to get there, the next question you need to answer is: “How long will it take to achieve?”. This is not just a matter of the duration of a course, workshop, or seminar. You probably need to continue working at your current place of employment while planning your next move.
This naturally limits the time you have available to master these new skills and meet the right people. However, it doesn’t make it impossible. It just means that you need to be very clear about what your goals are and set a realistic timetable for reaching them.
Gain the Skills
You’ve identified the needs your new career path must meet and considered what you have to work with. Then you researched the requirements for your new career path and set yourself goals for meeting these requirements. Now it’s time to get started.
Enroll yourself in the course of your choice. If you have to do this while working to maintain your financial security, consider evening classes. Or sign up for a course of learning that you can do online, in your own time. Be sure to check that the course is accredited and that you’ll receive all necessary proof of completion.
Make the Connections
While you are steadily acquiring the skills needed for your new career, make connections with others in that field. Join groups on LinkedIn, or attend events relevant to your new field. Networking is key to forming professional relationships that can help you get ahead.
Don’t rely on coursework alone to learn about your new work requirements. Read the latest news articles about your new industry of choice. Watch documentaries about your new occupation. If, at this stage, you discover that it’s just not what you had in mind, it’s still not too late to make some adjustments.
Take the Leap
You’ve determined what you want to do and set about acquiring the skills to do it. By now, you’ve met people who can give you advice and tips that will stand you in good stead in your new environment. It’s time for the last step – comb through job postings and apply for a position.
Once you’ve reached this stage, you should feel confident enough to give your current employer notice of your resignation. But remember that once you have done so, you are wholly committed to your new career path. Trust in your abilities, follow your instincts, and enjoy the new adventure.