Switching Careers: Everything You Need to Know

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Are you fed up with your current job and need a change? The idea of moving onto something completely new can be extremely nerve-wracking, especially when you have had no prior experience in any other field.

Over the past two years (in light of the pandemic), millions across the world have been forced to reconsider their career options as a result of the collapse of several industries – especially in the travel and tourism sector. There is still the worry that their jobs will be affected in the future.

A career change takes a great deal of preparation, determination, and thought – however, if you’re no longer getting job satisfaction or want to improve your prospects, now would be a great time to start getting the process underway.

If you require some helpful tips on how to switch your career, check out the tips below to help you determine what to consider:

1.   Think about your options

If you have reached the stage where you are growing bored in your current role and want to give yourself brand-new challenges, you may already have some inclination toward what you would like to do next. While you may have several ideas floating around in your mind, it’s time to be brave and make a final decision. Some of the questions you may wish to ask yourself include:

  • What do you like most about your job and what do you despise?
  • What sparks your interest?
  • Do you want to work for a company or work for yourself?
  • Is salary an important factor?

By weighing up these questions in your mind, you’ll have a clearer idea of where to focus your attention so you can find the most suitable job for you.

2.   Research suitable jobs

Once you have an idea of the direction you wish to take, your next step would be to research the type of jobs that would potentially be a good match for you.

While it’s impossible to fully understand the nature of the role simply by reading up on it, it would be worth gaining first-hand knowledge and opinions from professionals in the field who can inform you of the day-to-day responsibilities of the role.

Your vision of the job may not be the reality, so collecting as much information as possible will enable you to streamline your options.

3.   Advance your skillset

If you have worked in a certain industry for several years, you will likely have gained many flexible skills that can be applied to almost any job. However, there is always room to advance your skillset to make you a more desirable candidate to potential employers. This may mean taking on a short course to provide you with the relevant skills for the role, which you can add to your resumé.

4.   Seek a mentor

Seeking a mentor can be a valuable resource when it comes to switching careers. If you have no prior experience or information about the field, they are likely to be able to provide all of the help and advice needed and even point you in the right direction of how to go about getting your foot in the door.Don’t be afraid to ask questions – learning as much as you can from the get-go will ensure you’re not walking into the industry blind and gives you an insight into what to expect.

If they are still working in the industry, they may be aware of upcoming jobs or put in a good word for you if someone in their network is looking to hire. You can find mentors on social media, or through friends and family members.

5.   Get an education

Many job roles now require individuals to have at least a BA qualification in a subject related to their desired industry to establish themselves as experts in their sector. This is especially true for roles that require technical or specialist expertise, such as the computing, medical, or legal sectors.

If you have the ambition to become a social worker, for example, it’s a basic requirement to have a university qualification under your belt. Taking on a course around your current job and personal responsibilities can be a lot to ask, but the good news is that studies can often be carried out in several ways – part-time, full-time, or even online. If you’re looking for online options in the social work sector, online MSW programs accredited by the relevant bodies may be an option to think about.

6.   Shadow a professional

Embarking on a new career path is daunting, and if you have no prior experience, how can you be sure that the industry is definitely right for you? One useful technique would be to shadow professionals in the industry to get a feel for the role and gain an insight into whether you could see yourself doing it on a daily basis.

As well as watching what the employee is doing, you may even be asked to get involved yourself. Your college’s careers department may be aware of companies that are looking to appoint individuals looking to shadow, or you could even search for openings online.

7.   Choose to go freelance

If you’re unhappy in your current role and like the idea of being your own boss, why not consider freelancing? Working for yourself is not a decision to be taken lightly and can be overwhelming in the early days – especially when you’re not earning a decent wage in the very beginning. Yet with hard work and perseverance, your efforts should start to pay off. As well as this, you’re also much more likely to achieve a healthier work/life balance by fitting your work around your personal commitments.

With talent, experience, and a handful of useful connections, you can make freelancing a major success – and it’s all down to you.

What are the advantages of changing your career?

Changing careers is not an easy decision to make, and if you’re on the fence about what to do, it’s always worth making a note of the benefits of making this huge shift.

  • Reduced stress levels

Feeling stressed at the thought of going to work every day? Now’s the time to make a change. No one should feel physically ill worrying about going into the workplace – after all, it’s somewhere you spend most of your week. Whether your stress is caused by a toxic environment, high workload, or an unfair boss, getting rid of the trigger by switching careers is bound to make you feel calmer and more in control. Long-term stress can have damaging effects on our mental and physical health. No job is worth that.

  • Focus on your passions

No matter how high your salary may be, you may have the gut feeling that you’re in the wrong profession because it doesn’t align with your interests. One of the main reasons why people switch jobs is because they cannot settle without taking the plunge and following their passions. Don’t be afraid to take the leap. If you believe there is much more out there for you, go and chase your dream.

  • Increased salary

Another reason why people choose to switch jobs is that they’re unhappy with their salary. While salary shouldn’t be the defining focus of changing careers, it can certainly help make your decision easier – especially if you have life goals in mind that you cannot currently afford.

The average salary increases by an average of 5% each year, but if you have enough experience under your belt, you may be able to demand much more in a new company that matches the average industry rate.

  • The chance to get promoted

Do you consider yourself a career-focused individual with the goal of progressing? Changing careers may be the right decision for you. If you have been working at your current company for some time with no sight of advancement, now may be the time to make a break. Some companies simply don’t acknowledge their employees’ ambitions of moving up the career ladder, or they simply may not have the finances to offer such opportunities. If you believe you could progress further elsewhere, take a look at online job advertisements and see whether you meet the job criteria to apply.

  • Stepping out of your comfort zone

If you have been in your current role for many years, it’s likely you have got quite comfortable and fear the idea of change. This may not be a problem for those who have no further ambitions, but if you are aware that you have the skills and expertise to achieve more, why not bite the bullet and go for it? Stepping out of your comfort zone can be frightening, but you’ll be so proud of yourself for making that change.

Final word:

Changing careers is no easy decision to make; however, we hope that the above advice has given you something to think about if you’re considering making the shift in the near future. Try not to think too deeply about the risks but instead focus on the positives and the opportunities that it may bring.