There are all kinds of reasons for changing a career during your working life and whatever your age or experience level, it is never too late to try out something different. People may decide to change careers because of changes in their industry, environment, making a move to a new location, or simply to try out something new.
If you’re considering changing your career, read on for some useful things to consider beforehand.
Think about your qualifications
Before you plan a new career change, it is always essential to carry out research into the qualifications and experiences you may need to enter a different path. While some career changes may be easier to move into, requiring few or no formal qualifications, others may need extensive education before you can enter a paid role in the industry. For instance, if you are considering a career in technology or data science, then it is worth reading up and doing some research into the kinds of qualifications and courses available in these areas: click here for further information.
If you’re uncertain about which direction you want to move in, but simply want to make a change, then you may also want to look into possible careers that you can try out with your existing skills and experiences. While this can vary across different industries, some qualifications will allow greater flexibility in career choice than others. A science or humanities subject, for instance, does not mean that you are limited to working in those areas, but can transfer the skills you may have learned in numerous other areas, such as education, industry, technology and more.
Look at study options
If you do need to study more before you change your career, then it is worth planning this next step in detail, before you decide to leave your current role. You may need to look into funding for a professional or formal qualification, as well as balancing time commitments with work and your personal life.
Many employers also offer the opportunity to study for qualifications while working and may even provide concessions or paid courses from within. If you work within a corporation, you may want to discuss this with your Human Resources department to find out what could be available to you. Even if your workplace does not offer courses for further professional development directly, there may be other routes and options either through local schemes with educational bodies, local organizations, or elsewhere.
Consider an internship
Moving into a new career often requires having the right kind of experience in the relevant industry. However, if you are attempting to find a new job after having worked in another area previously, it may be more difficult to find a role suitable for your needs immediately.
One way to build up the relevant level of experience is by looking for opportunities to take on internships or shadowing roles. An internship may be either paid or unpaid and will give you the chance to network within your new industry as well as learn valuable skills on the ground. They may often take place over a fixed period of several months or carry on an on-going basis with the chance for a promotion to a permanent role later on. Shadowing roles may often be much shorter, giving you the chance to learn more about an industry for few weeks or months, but they can be a great way of helping you decide if something is truly the right step for you.
Talk to others
One of the best sources of insight you can get in changing careers is by talking to others who have done the same thing. If you know of other people who have made the switch to working in a different industry, decided to go down a freelance route, or made another major career change, take time to have a talk with them to learn about their experiences.
They may be able to reveal obstacles that they faced, give useful advice on how to go about negotiating changes or even provide helpful contacts to point you in the right direction towards starting your new career.
Review your CV
Once you have the qualifications and experiences in place to move to a new career, the next step will be refreshing your current CV. Depending on how much of a career change you are planning, you may simply need to update an existing document or you may need to research and recreate this entirely from scratch.
Many industries, such as within the arts and technology industries, will also often require a portfolio of work to showcase your skills and abilities. It is good to tailor this as closely as possible to the industry you hope to work in to show that you possess the relevant skills to carry out a job in the area. If you have not yet done any professional work to present in a portfolio, you can still work on putting this together by volunteering to do unpaid work for charities and voluntary organizations or you can get even more creative by creating work for brands that you would aspire to working with.
Be realistic about your expectations
Finally, any major career change will require patience and realism as it may take you some time to establish yourself in a new industry, especially if you are starting from scratch. This can be challenging at times, particularly if you have decided to move from an existing career where you were well established and comfortable, as you may have to accept a change in salary, responsibilities and other factors, or if you have come back to the workforce after a break.
However, you can keep yourself motivated by reminding yourself of the reasons for your career change and focus on your eventual goal to thrive and succeed in your new chosen area. While this may take some time, perseverance and creativity, ultimately it can be an enormously rewarding and positive step in your life.
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