How to make a career change - tips and advice on changing careers

how to make a career change

Changing careers is a huge step and not always an easy one to make. There are a number of possible outcomes and without proper preparation could end up being a terrible mistake.

The whole process involves a lot of thought, research and planning if success is to be had.
First of all, you must check your motivations for changing careers. If you like your current job but just hate the people you work for, it may purely be a case of staying in the same line of work but moving to another company.

Similarly, many people make the mistake of changing careers because theirs does not pay a high enough salary. You may want to go where the money is, but remember that money does not equal success or happiness. You may end up being just as miserable in the higher paid job and then have to start all over again with another career change.

Once the decision is made, you need to formulate a plan. It is not a good idea to leave your current job until a new one is found, and so all the preparation for finding your next job should be done in your free time from work. Changing careers is not easy. You cannot wake up one day, decide to leave your current job, and then just walk into another. There are many steps to take and much planning involved. The process could take a matter of weeks, months or even years!

Maybe you have an artistic talent or hobby that you would like to turn into a career, or perhaps you have an interest in teaching and would like your new job to involve working with children. If you already know what your next move will be, then you can go about getting some advice from a careers advisor or by talking to friends and family who may already work in that field. The Internet is also another very useful tool and you can research any jobs that interest you online.
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If you are unsure of what your alternative career will be, then get help. First, make a list of everything that you are passionate about and then a separate list of all of your skills.

At this point it is a good idea to talk to a careers advisor or to take an online psychometric test that assesses what skills you have and your personality and then matches them up with a career that employs those skills and suits your character. You may be surprised at what comes up, as the test may result in jobs that you had never thought of before.

Once you have a clearer idea of possible new careers, you should research them in more detail. Talk to professionals already in that line of work or join various networking groups to gain advice and new contacts that may be able to help.

Find out which skills you need for your new chosen career and then assess whether you have them or not. If not, find out how you can gain these new skills. You may be able to go on a training course or learn them on the job, maybe working part-time. It may be a case of having to study further and take certain exams, but this can be done online, at night school or maybe on one morning a week whilst working throughout the rest of the week. If you have been out of education for many years, do not be put off if you have to learn new skills or study further. You may find that you really enjoy it.

Before taking the plunge, make sure that you have considered all of the advantages and disadvantages of changing careers. How does your family feel about the change in career? Will it affect how much time is spent with them? Will you have to work unsociable hours? Will you be on a lower salary and can you and your family cope with that? These, and many more are all points that must be considered before making that move. Will you really be better off?

OK, you have now decided on your next career move, have gained extra skills and qualifications and are ready to get that new job. Now is the time to review your CV. If you have a list of companies that are looking for staff and want to apply, you will need to read their job description and specification and then tailor your CV to suit. For more information see our guide to writing a CV in our Curriculum Vitae section.

If your new career involves working freelance, print out your own business cards and deposit them in key locations, design and print out flyers and hand them out and even ask your local newspaper to write a feature about you and your new business. Offer family and friends free or discount samples or treatments to ensure that you practise your new skills on people that know you first, and also to get them talking to their friends and contacts about you.

If you plan ahead and take active steps into training for a new career, the transition should be smooth and without problem. It may be a slow process, but try and have fun along the way and it will be worth it in the end.
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