You might just be having a bad day or a bad week or you may think that you’ve made a big mistake with your life choices. Whatever the reason, the thought of changing careers does enter many people’s minds at one point or another. As we all know though, there is a big difference between thinking about doing something and actually doing it. So, before you make any big decisions or write your resignation letter, if you’re thinking of changing careers, here are some basic things to consider.
Evaluate your reasons
Spend some time thinking carefully about what has caused your desire to change careers. Has there been a one-off incident that triggered these thoughts or have you always had a yearning to do something else? It’s important to make sure that you are doing things for the right reasons – it is too big a decision to simply act on impulse or on a whim. Consider what factors are motivating you – is it the thought of a higher salary, to fulfil a personal ambition, or to do something that you are truly passionate about?
Do your research
That old cliche, ‘far off fields look green’ can certainly be applied to careers. It’s entirely possible that you could look at a particular career or profession and make an assumption that it is a much better option than what you are currently doing. That however is not always the case. Never make an assumption about a career. Do your research first. Find out as much as you can about particular careers, typical job duties, career progression opportunities and the like. Speak to people already doing that type of work – use your existing contacts, connect with people at networking events or use platforms like LinkedIn. It’s important to build up a proper insight into a career before you take the leap. There’s every chance that once you have found out all you can, you may not wish to change careers after all!
Review your Skills and Qualifications
If you are seriously considering an alternative career, it’s essential to determine what the entry requirements are. Are your existing qualifications suffice or would you need to undertake additional studies or exams? Is your current work experience relevant and are your skills transferable to this new career path? It’s important to weigh up what is needed – look at job advertisements for that sector and see what employers are looking for. Would you be deemed a suitable candidate now or would you need to develop your skills or strengthen your qualifications first?
Making a career change will have an impact on many other parts of your life – your personal and family life could all be affected. It’s important therefore to take some time to weigh up what things are likely to change and whether now is really the right time to make such a move. If changing careers at this point in your life could be detrimental either personally or financially, then perhaps it’s best to postpone until things are more stable. Also, in relation to your current career, it’s worthwhile considering if you have really gone as far as you can at this point. Would holding off for another while be more beneficial in the long term? Since changing careers is such a major decision, timing is everything.
The bigger picture
Before making any definitive decisions about changing careers, it’s important too to look at things from a long term perspective. Do you have long term career goals or a career plan or strategy? How would this career move fit into those overall plans and objectives? Also, consider things such as the market sector or profession you wish to enter. Is it a buoyant market presently or a market where there is likely to be significant growth in the future? How has the economic downturn affected this type of career, if at all? If you are planning on moving careers and are in it for the long haul, evaluating the whole picture is essential.
We hope that these tips help should you be considering changing careers. Got any others you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.