Are You Ready to Make a Career Change?
It’s rare nowadays for someone to have just one career throughout their life. It’s not like it used to be where you had a job in the same company for 45 years and retired at 65 with a pension and a nice watch for a retirement present.
Most people nowadays will have multiple careers whether it’s by choice or by chance. I know a lot of people will have been forced out of work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and may be re-thinking their career path during this time. Have you been thinking about making a career change lately? Today I wanted to lay out some things that you should know or consider before you make a career change.
Evaluate your passions and skills
First of all, if you want to (or need to) make a career change but don’t know where to start, try to do a brainstorming session. Identify all the things you love to do, what your skills and talents are, and what opportunities there are in the market place. Ask yourself questions like do you prefer working alone or with people? Do you prefer to be in an office environment or on your feet? Do you want to do something creative? Or if caring for animals is a passion of yours?
Take some career finder quizzes to see what kind of work suits your personality best. Dream big about what career you would love to have and where this overlaps with what you are good at and care about. If you’re not sure what you’re good at, ask your family and friends. They might be able to look at your situation more objectively.
Narrow down the list by comparing your ideas to your list of values. What is it that you value? It could be time, money, flexibility, ability to work from home, passion, or a challenge. Cross of anything that is not compatible with your values especially if it is non-negotiable. For example, if you want to be at home every night to put your kids to bed, shift work is probably not for you. Or if working from home is a priority for you, then a job such as the fire brigade probably won’t suit you.
Consider if you need a particular qualification or experience for the kind of career you need? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box here. There are many back doors and alternate routes to get into most careers. But be frank with yourself about what you are willing to give up in order (in time, money, and energy) to get into your chosen career.
If you are thinking of re-training, it is important to understand the cost of doing so. How much will it cost you to re-train? And what is the opportunity cost of doing so? For example, if you have to cut back on your hours at work so you can study or if you have to pay someone to mind your children while you study, how much will that cost you? And what is the potential return on your investment? How much will you likely make once you qualify? It is important to understand if the potential return on investment is worth it to you. Online learning has unlimited possibilities right now. Always check if there is an e-learning option, you can study from the comfort of your own home with less cost.
As I said, there are many routes into different jobs and not all of them require re-training. Get creative and see how best you can utilise your skills. Also consider, if you can side hustle for income during this time? And can you fast track through your course to complete it quicker?
Weigh Up the Costs
Many career changes won’t require re-training. You might just need to re-brand yourself or re-think the way you think about your skills. Update your CV and LinkedIn profile. Reach out to people in your network who may have connections or useful advice you can leverage. Adjust your budget to see how things would be financially for you with your new potential salary (whether that be higher or lower than your current one). Would there be any extra costs with your new job? Such as travel, childcare, or a uniform. Factor that in too.
If and when you do get an interview make sure you practice hard. I have given some of my best interview tips in a recent article that you can read here. If you find yourself being offered a job, make sure you read this article on ‘What To Do Before You Accept a Job Offer’.
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