Are you unhappy at work? Lots of people who are unhappy at work either just keep going through the motions and getting through their shift in the best way possible. Other people choose to change their workplace, essentially still doing the same job as before but in a new, fresh environment.
And then there are those people who opt for a complete career change. These days, more and more people are making the leap and heading out on a whole new career path. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you could be considering the exact same move.
Why Do People Opt For A Career Change?
There are many reasons why people opt to embark on a career change. Here are just a few reasons – some of these reasons may resonate with you.
- Children – If you have started a family, you might be considering a career change because your current career is too demanding and you want to focus on raising your family. You could be thinking about looking for part time jobs or job share so that your work life balance is improved. Or you might be looking for term time jobs now that your children are in school. This means you get time to spend with them in the school holidays.
- Your Values Have Changed – We all change as we grow older. Maybe your career was everything to you and you loved your job. Now, however, that job is just not doing it for you. You need a more meaningful role where you can be in the workplace feeling fulfilled. You need to feel like you are making a difference; not just earning a living.
- You Are Unhappy In Your Current Career – There could be lots of reasons for this. An annoying boss, a toxic workplace. Your role is taking its toll on you because of the high stress levels.
- You Want A Career That Aligns With Your Interests – Job satisfaction is high on people’s agendas, these days. A part time job that also gives you the opportunity to indulge your passion or aligns with your interests is a great way to get job satisfaction and an ideal reason for a career change.
- You Look At Your Bosses And Seniors In Your Job And Think To Yourself You Don’t Want To End Up Like Them – Do you sit in the staffroom and listen to the conversation of your bosses and realise you are looking at your own potential future? Are bosses in your company working long hours with little work life balance? Now could be a good time to think about a career change.
- Your Company Is Downsizing – If your company is downsizing, this could give you the feeling that redundancy might be on the cards. Rather than look for work in a similar field to the one you are already in, this could be the perfect time to make a career change.
- Relocating – It might be your current company that is relocating or it might be you that is relocating. A perfect opportunity to make a career change if that is what you have been thinking about.
Even when you are working part time, going to work each day when you are feeling unfulfilled can make life a chore. Depending on your situation in your current job, being unhappy there can impact your physical and mental health also and this, in turn, can impact your home life and your relationships with loved ones, family and friends. Making the career change is not just about your career. It’s about your life.
So, whatever your situation, let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to ensure your career change is a successful one.
Step 1 – What Is It That Makes You Unhappy With Your Current Career?
You can brainstorm ideas with this and also keep ongoing notes whilst you are in the workplace, too, so that you don’t forget any of the little things that might be building up to create the overall unhappiness.
- Is it the people you are working with? Perhaps you have that annoying boss or lazy, unmotivated coworkers.
- Is it that your job has no option for flexible hours so you would like to find a part time job or a job share?
- Is it that, quite frankly, you just find your current career boring?
Listing all of your annoyances with your current career can help you decide if it really is your career that you dislike – and therefore a change is necessary – or if it is just your workplace. If it is just your workplace that is the problem then a whole career change may not be necessary. You could speak with your boss or hand in your notice in your current role and apply for part time jobs elsewhere but in the same field.
Step 2 – Do You Know Anyone Else Who Has Made A Career Change?
If you have decided that a career change is the way forward for you, now is the time to start to get informed. Is there anyone in your circle that you can speak to that has made a career change previously?
When you have found that person, use their experience to inform your next steps. Would they have done anything differently? What would they change now? Do they have any regrets? What were the challenges they faced? Was all the effort worth it? What are the highlights from their career change?
Knowing the setbacks as well as all the positives that can come from a career change will give you a more realistic outlook and the confidence to move forward with your plans.
Step 3 – Choosing Your Future Career
You have made the decision to make a career change – but what are you going to change that career to? What will you be able to do that is going to give you the job satisfaction that you are craving?
This, again, is where yo9u need to make yourself a list – a list of your values, your interests and your skills.
- What are you good at? This can be your role in the workplace but also think about what you are good at outside of the workplace. If you are not used to praising yourself then this can be a good exercise. Also ask your friends and family what they think you are good at, too. It is likely they have noticed traits in you that you might not have considered before.
- What have you done in the past that was a success? Again, this could be something you did in the workplace but it can also be things you have done elsewhere.
Keep in mind that when you are making a career change, not all jobs require that you undergo retraining. When you list all the things you are good at, you may find you already have the necessary skills for one or some of the career moves you might be considering. These can be specific skills and also transferable skills. When you apply for roles, it will just be a case of convincing your potential new employer that you are the person for the job and that you can learn what is necessary once you are in the job.
Step 4 – What Are Those Potential New Careers?
Now it’s time to look at all those skills and values and apply them to potential new careers. This is not a case of sitting alone, trawling through jobs lists to see what you might be able to consider. Ask family and friends, also. They could come up with some career ideas that you hadn’t considered before.
Step 5 – Research Those Careers
So, now you have a whole list of potential new careers that you could embark upon. For some of them, you might be familiar with the role but for others, you are entering a whole new world.
- Google job vacancies and take notes about the qualities and qualifications employers are looking for for the careers you are interested in. Look at the duties of the role to see if they suit you. Do they match your skills and values. If you are looking to work fewer hours and be more flexible, does the job lend itself well to that?
- Could you make a career change but still work within the same industry? If you work in the travel industry, for example, you could make the move from being a holiday rep to customer services because you will have excellent people skills and communication skills. You will also have a lot of knowledge about the industry as a whole.
- Use your network! Yes, you have got one – even if you don’t think you have. As well as family and friends (who have friends of friends, don’t forget) make sure you make use of social media. Yes, LinkedIn is great but also look at your Facebook contacts. Not everyone on Facebook is your best friend who you socialise with, regularly. Chances are, you made friends with someone on Facebook who you met at a networking event, in the workplace or at a party. Hunt them out on your friends list and double check what they do for a living. Could they give you any tips or put you in touch with any of their contacts who could help you?
Step 6 – Job Shadow Or Volunteer
Well, we have just said that you need to convince your potential new employer that you are the person for the job. If you have some sort of experience, this can go a long way to convincing that person in the interview room.
Not only does work shadowing or volunteering give you some valuable experience, it can also give you a real insight into the career you are thinking of moving into. You never know; it may actually convince you that your possible new career isn’t for you, after all.
Job shadowing and volunteering can be a really valuable strategy for trying out new projects that you might not have previously considered and you could find that your skills and values are perfectly aligned to a career that wasn’t previously on your radar.
A further advantage to work shadowing or volunteering is that it gives you the opportunity to make contacts with people in that sector. Meeting bosses and colleagues gives you the opportunity to demonstrate how keen you are to learn and how your skills and values align with the company or organisation. This is something that can be difficult to get across by merely writing on your CV.
Step 7 – Upgrade Your Skills
All of those skills you have just listed – how up to date are they? Do you know how to work with the latest technology or do you know what the current trends are within your industry? Take a look at some online courses that you could maybe do in your spare time without leaving the home. For practical skills, you could consider going to night school or making the most of any other training offered by your current company.
When you have made an effort to upgrade your skills or even learn some new ones, this shows potential new employers that you are committed to your career change and that you are willing to learn more in the future.
Step 8 – Be Prepared For Rejection
If you are considering a career change then patience might need to play a big role in landing your new job. It can take time to go through the process of deciding the best career path for you and then applying for jobs that come up.
Be prepared for rejection and remember not to take this rejection personally. When you are applying for these jobs, bear in mind that other applicants for the same roles might already be highly experienced and have all the necessary qualifications.
Give yourself the best possible chance by really tailoring yourself to the role. Identify your relevant skills and experience for the role and relevant transferable skills. Potential employers don’t need to know every single skill you have in your arsenal. They want to know what you can offer for their workplace. And keep in mind that some employers like to bring in new people like you. You could offer new insights for their organisations.
Considering a career where there is a skills shortage could give you more chance of landing a job quickly. There are lots of sectors where there is a skills shortage and you might find you have just the right qualities to help fill that gap. .
Step 9 – Be Prepared for A Pay Cut
You are starting out on a new career path. Depending on your current skills and experience, you might need to accept a pay cut in the beginning. If you are unhappy in your current career, this pay cut might well be outweighed by the job satisfaction you are now getting.
A pay cut will likely not be a permanent situation, either. Your new employer might be willing to pay for exams or give you study leave so that you can build up to the types of management roles you might have had in the past. Once you have more skills and experience in your new role, it might be possible to negotiate a pay rise.
Are You Ready to Make A Career Change?
So, after reading our steps to change your career successfully, are you ready to set the process in motion? When it comes to deciding whether or not you are making the right move, it is a case of putting trust into your instincts.
You might feel out of your comfort zone and a bit lost when changing career but if your instinct tells you it is the right thing to do then you could be on a new path and an exciting journey.