Changing career direction
Ever felt like there has to be a career out there that better fits your skills than your current job? Do you know that nagging feeling that your talent is wasted here and all the opportunities are waiting in a different direction? But abandoning the professional life you’ve built for something unknown feels risky and you are left wondering if changing careers at this point is even an option?
It is. If you’re not satisfied with your current career path, don’t feel scared to explore a transition. There are plenty of reasons that spark drastic careers changes — the lack of opportunity for development in an industry, the fact that you never really choose our career in the first place or changes in your life that led to new interests and changed your values.
Assess your talents
If you are starting this journey, not knowing where you actually want to go, your first step needs to be an honest assessment of your skills and talents. Spending some time thinking about yourself and what fulfills you will help you to make the right choice. Consider what you've achieved in your current career and be clear about what you like and don’t like about the role.
Pick the right time to make the leap
Don’t kid yourself, changing your career will be stressful. So if you’re considering a professional transition, make sure your personal life is in order. A secure environment and a loving support network will give you the needed confidence to take a professional risk.
Do your research so you know where you’re going
Once you are clear on the direction and the time feels right, do your research to understand the skills and qualifications you’ll need to get you the new role. Identify the transferable skills you have to offer, as well as any credentials you might lack and sign up for classes or online training to fill any gaps.
Seek advice from those whose career you aspire to
You’ll need to learn a lot in a short time frame, so network to find mentors and experts that can advise you and are open to sharing their experience. Someone who works within the sector or role that you’re aiming for can be a great source of practical guidance and will help you to better understand the industry or role that you are interested in.
Be in it for the long run
Have realistic expectations and timeframes in mind. When you are ready to discover a new line of work your first hurdle is to get your foot in the door. Have a new CV ready that highlights your skills and experiences most relevant to the desired job, but also be open to positions where you can learn and grow. You will need to be flexible and accept that you might have to make compromises on compensation and title in order to make the leap into a new career path.
Career transitions don’t have to be all or nothing. You can choose a more gradual approach to help you work towards a new career over time. This might mean making changes to your current role, studying in the evening, learning new skills, networking and talking to mentors — all with the aim in mind to become more attractive to potential new employers. It might also mean that you move into your new career path progressively via a series of jobs.
Most of us no longer have the career that takes us from school leaver to retiree, and it is may be time that we embrace the fact that our work lives hold plenty of opportunities and pleasant surprises if we are willing to take a few career risks in order to redefine our professional selves.