Changing careers is an exciting but daunting prospect. But many of us have to do it at some point. Whether it’s the search for more flexibility, better pay or less stress, there are many reasons why changing your job is a great idea. Life is long after all (well, hopefully) so a change in careers can be a good way to shake things up.
However, it’s not always easy—particularly if you’re relying on your current job to pay the bills.
But don’t despair. Here are 5 simple steps to help you change your career path.
1. Look within
If you dislike your current job, don’t make any rash decisions. Sit back, relax and analyse your experience.
Look at your current skillset and ask yourself key questions about your current job. What do you like and dislike? Is there something you’d like more/less of? What skills do you have that your current job isn’t making use of? Think about the times you made a success at work and what helped you succeed. Make note of these skills and determine how they’ll help you in other roles.
Next, brainstorm the industries and roles you think you’d be suited for. Make a list of potential jobs to apply for and take note of any skills you could do with learning or brushing up on.
2. Create an action plan
Now that you have a better idea of the jobs you’d be suited for, it’s time to think of an action plan. If your list of potential new careers is quite long, try to create a shortlist so that it’s not too daunting. It’ll also make it easier with knowing where to start.
So what will it take for you to land your new job? If you require further education or experience, write down the steps you’ll need to take to get them. Create a timeline for completion, setting yourself realistic deadlines for when to get things done.
When you feel you’re in the best position to start applying for new jobs, it’s time to do some rebranding.
3. Rebrand your reputation
If you’re planning to change your career path, it’s highly likely that your CV and cover letter will need an update. Or perhaps a complete overhaul. Keep in mind the jobs you’ll be applying for and create a résumé that’s up to the task. Having a look at job advertisements is a great way to learn more about the skills employers are looking for. Highlight anything and everything that will be relevant. Our 5 simple CV tips that will make your résumé stand out post can help.
You’ll also want to update your social profiles. Make sure that your LinkedIn is up to date and makes sense to potential new employers. And depending on the industry you’re working in, consider creating a website or business cards. These can be useful if you’ll be relying on networking in your job search.
Why is rebranding important? Because an out-of-date and irrelevant CV is confusing to employers. It may even put them off. Making sure that your CV, cover letter and any online business profiles make sense is worth the effort—trust us.
4. Put yourself out there
Now that your CV and cover letter are up to date, it’s time to put yourself out there. If you have contacts in the industry, let them know that you’re looking for new opportunities. They can keep you informed of anything that comes up and they may even put a good word in for you.
You could also look out for volunteering or interning opportunities. Although often low paid, they can help you get a feel for the industry and decide whether it’s a good fit for your skills and interests. It’s also a great way to build your experience, meet more contacts and get your foot in the door.
Social media is another great way to put yourself out there. Create a LinkedIn profile (if you don’t already have one) and interact with relevant employers and posts where possible. You can also apply for jobs direct. Have a look around for job advertisements and submit your CV and cover letter to the ones you like the look of.
5. Keep the faith
Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, sharpened up your skillset and put yourself out there, it can be easy to think that jobs will come a-flowing. But often these things can take time.
Be patient and don’t give up on your mission to change your career path. Keep track of your progress in a spreadsheet to log any milestones like callbacks and interviews. If you are invited to an interview but don’t get the role, ask for feedback. It’s a great way to gain more self-awareness and you’ll be able to work on areas that need improving for next time.
And remember that everything is experience. Even if a telephone interview or in-person meeting doesn’t quite go to plan, you’re still getting some practice in for when you do that land job. And when you do land that job, this guide will help you nail your first day.
Good luck with your mission to change your career path! You can do it!