Making a successful career change isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. We are all looking to improve our finances, grow our careers, reduce stress, and find our passion – these all influence our consideration to make the big decision of a career change. It’s critical to approach this with a strategic and researched view – a thought-through career change will likely lead to greater job satisfaction.
Consider the below steps before taking the plunge and changing careers. Take time to evaluate your present situation, explore alternative career options, and ultimately choose a more fulfilling career.
The Benefits of a Successful Career Change
The Joblist survey reports that most people were happier after they took the calculated risk of changing careers:
- Happier: 77%
- More satisfied: 75%
- More fulfilled: 69%
- Less stressed: 65%
In order to ensure a strategic and informed outcome, ask yourself the tough questions and review the tips below for exploring options, evaluating alternatives, and eventually making a successful career change.
- Evaluate your current job situation. Ask yourself which aspects of your current job you like and dislike? Are your frustrations related to the content of your work, your company culture or the people with whom you work? Why do you really want to make a change? Think about it when you’re angry, happy, bored, content, frustrated, or feeling any other emotion in order to make sure that your perception stays the same regardless of your mood. A career change needs to be beneficial for the long term, not just a quick fix for the way you’re feeling right now.
- Assess your values, talent and interests. Consider previous fulfilling roles, volunteer work, projects and jobs in order to identify activities and skills you prefer. Ultimately, you need to determine whether your core values and skills are addressed through your current career. There are some great online tools available to help you determine what your strengths are. At Paton Personnel, our recruiters are all experts in their fields and they will be able to give you honest and reliable advice regarding your career plan, playing to your unique strengths
- Consider alternative professions. Do as much research as you can online and by speaking to anyone linked to the field(s) you are interested in. Discuss the values and skills that make you tick with friends, family, and networking contacts. At Paton we are extremely knowledgeable and we can point you in the right direction.
- Are there jobs available in the field you are considering? Do your own ‘market research’ and search for job titles/ roles you would be interested in. Such a preliminary comparative evaluation of several fields will be a very good indication of the practicability of your career change. You can find a wealth of information online simply by Googling the jobs/ job titles/ roles that interest you.
- Network. It’s not what you know, but who you know! Reach out to personal contacts in those sectors for honest feedback and to relay their first-hand experience. LinkedIn is also a great resource for finding contacts in specific career fields of interest. Don’t be shy, ask someone for coffee to talk about one of the most important decisions in your life – one day it will be you helping someone else out. It has proved to be extremely valuable to shadow professionals in fields of primary interest to observe work first hand. This isn’t always possible in these times but do offer/ volunteer to get involved.
- Further your education in your field of interest. Explore educational opportunities that would bridge your background in your new field. Consider taking an evening or an online course that you can fit in your current schedule. Spend some time attending seminars or webinars. Contact professional groups in your target field for suggestions; they are generous with their advice.
It is imperative to look for ways to develop new skills in your current job which would pave the way for a change e.g., offer to write a draft legal letter if this is a skill valued in your new field. If your company offers in-house training, sign up for as many sessions as you can. There are ways you can position yourself for a successful career change without having to go back to university.
- Consider a change of career within your industry. It may be worth considering alternative roles within your current industry which would employ the industry knowledge you already have e.g. If you are a manager for a large bank, you could consider a move to corporate recruiting within the banking industry. Or if you are a programmer, you could consider moving to technical sales or project management.
Whether you’re feeling unfulfilled in your current job or are finally brave enough to pursue your dream career, a change in vocation offers many potential benefits. You can start researching your new career right now, go to https://www.patonpersonnel.co.za/ and get in touch with a specialised recruiter today – and ensure the successful career change you have dreamt of!