More and more people are considering a career change, and you might be one of them. There are many reasons why someone could consider a change in their career direction.
Maybe you don’t enjoy what you do. Maybe your preferences have changed. What you used to find interesting when you were studying might feel very different in the workplace. Or maybe you decided what to study based on your family’s expectations and you have realised that it’s not for you. Whatever your reason, it’s 100% valid.
It is very common to find that our expectations about work when we were studying don’t match what we encounter years later in the actual job market.
Also, our circumstances in life change and with them we might find that our career preferences change as well.
It is very useful to stop every now and then to check if our professional journey is still in line with our values, with what makes us happy. If this is not the case, our career can become a source of frustration. We dedicate many hours of our lives to work, so feeling professionally fulfilled will have a big impact in our well-being.
If you’ve got to a point where you know you definitely need a career change, here’s some good news – it is possible to achieve and more and more people are doing it nowadays!
Here is step-by-step list on how to do it:
5 STEPS TO START A CAREER CHANGE
1. First step is self-discovery. Knowing what is important for you, and what makes you happy at work.
What are your priorities? Convenient working hours? High salary? Travelling? Being able to use your creativity? Working with large teams?
Make a list of all the areas that are important for you, your preferences, what type of roles you would enjoy doing. Describe what conditions your ideal job would need to have, and establish priorities. What have you enjoyed in your previous jobs? What haven’t you liked? When have you felt the most fulfilled in your career?
This exercise is about having a clear and detales description of the type of job/role you want to achieve.
2. With that in mind, make a list of possible job options that meet your criteria.
It might not be easy to find a role that meets all your requirements, that’s why it’s important to prioritise. This step is about make a list of all possible jobs, roles, companies or projects you would like to target and are aligned with your values.
It could be changing to a company whose values are more in line with yours. Or a different role in a different department in your current company. It might be a move to a different sector. Maybe a different location. Or you might even consider working for yourself. There are infinite options out there, spend some time brainstorming without discarding any ideas for now. Ask your friends or relatives if they know of any options that could interest you. It is very interesting to see how others perceive us, listening to ideas that come form a different perspective can be very useful we feel stuck.
3. Gap Analysis.
Now the you have a list with all your potential options, it is time to perform a gap analysis. Looking at the potential jobs’ requirements, which ones do you already have? Which ones are you missing?
a. Make a list of your strengths and skills that could be valuable for your future job.
NOTE: if the first answer is “not many…” WRONG! That sounds like limiting beliefs in action. ;)
Take your time, grab a pen and paper and review all the projects and activities you have been involved in. If you were a sports team captain at school, you showed leadership skills, team-work and collaboration. If you used to work in a restaurant to fund your studies during the summer, you know what commitment and hard work is, not to mention your customer service skills.
We are not trying to fake or make up skills you don’t have. This exercise is about reviewing all your strengths and skills. Very often we forget we have them or discount them. Many people feel impressed by the long skill set they actually have! This will give you a great confidence boost, which is extremely important to perform well at interviews.
b. Now let’s have a look at the gaps.
When we consider a career change we might have to make an additional effort to achieve our goals. Maybe you would benefit from some specific training, learn a new skill, spend time networking, redesign your CV… Make a list of actions that will get you closer to your ideal career. It is very useful to analyse the job offer requirements or talk to someone who is already in your ideal position and find out what they did to get there.
4. Define a detailed plan for the transition, with specific and measurable goals and realistic deadlines.
Now that you know where you want to go, the tools you already have and the ones you need to acquire… It’s time to define your action plan! It is important that your objectives are realistic, specific and measurable. . (you might want to search SMART goals for more details).
Some sample objectives:
“Complete the course X starting in January 2019 and finishing in June 2019″
“Share a weekly post in social media about a topic which is relevant for my target role”
“Schedule 5 networking meetings in the next 3 months”
“Sign up for the most important job search platform before the end of the month”
5. It is highly recommendable to have a Mentor.
A mentor can be someone you admire, inspires you or someone who is already in the position you would like to be. A career change can be much easier with help from someone who is a leader in the sector or has already achieved similar objectives to yours. You might feel shy about asking the experts in the field, or might think they will be very busy to reply to you. But most likely, they will be willing to help. I’ve contacted many people in my career and they’ve always been friendly and helpful. Worst case scenario, they might ignore your message… Well you have nothing to lose! It is so worth it considering how much you can learn from others’ experience and knowledge.
Another option is to have Career Coaching where you can work on the previous steps with the guidance and experience of an expert.
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