How to change careers with 3 easy tips

If you feel that little bit of dread in the pit of your stomach every time you wake up in the morning, then you are not alone. There are lots of people out there that don’t like their job and would love to do something else. The problem however is that consistent pay and the lack of qualifications and experience puts a lot of people off from doing what’s right – changing careers!

Changing careers is not an easy thing to do, especially if you don’t have the relevant skills and qualifications. But it can be done if you’re willing to work hard to achieve your goals, and keep an open mind as to what you can do.

Most people who are stuck in a career they hate fail to recognise their own potential, and often tell themselves they are stuck in a job because there is nothing else they can do. This just isn’t true, and we want to reassure our readers that a career change is not as difficult as it seems.

To help push you in the right career direction, here’s how to change careers with 3 easy tips.

Decide what you want to do

Before you jump ship and hand in your notice you need to figure out what you actually want to do. This may seem rather obvious but we want you to be 100% happy that a career change is what you want and need. This is a big step and serious consideration should be given before you do anything rash.

To help you decide if you really do want to change careers, here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do I like my job?
  • Do I hate getting up in the mornings?
  • Am I happy with my pay and benefits?
  • Does my current job excite me?
  • Do I get job satisfaction on a daily basis?
  • Is there someone at work that is making work difficult?
  • Am I achieving a work life balance?
  • Does work negatively affect me when I’m at home?
  • Does work negatively affect others around me (family or friends)?

We are not going to get you to score yourself from the list of questions above based on your answers – so don’t worry. We just want to ensure you are asking yourself the right questions and are beginning to think clearly about what’s right for you.

Next on the agenda is deciding what you would prefer to do. If you have a very specific role in mind and this is something you’ve looked at before, then this part would be easy. Move onto the next tip. But for those of you that are not quite sure, we have some great advice to help you narrow things down a bit.

Start by moving your thinking away from a specific role, and look at a much broader range of careers. Here’s an example of what you could enjoy in a career:

  • Talking with customers
  • Solving customer complaints
  • Sales
  • Caring for others
  • Outdoors – Country Park
  • Law
  • Business owner
  • Social work
  • Travelling
  • Education
  • Clerical
  • Foreign languages
  • Sports
  • Research
  • IT

As you can see from the list above we have purposely made it random. This is exactly how you need to create your own list of potential tasks and responsibilities you’d like to have. For example, if you currently work behind the desk at a parts department for a Ford car dealership but have always wanted to be outdoors, then you could simply write ‘outdoors’ on a piece of paper.

Clearly you don’t want to be static and sit behind a desk, and you’ve now begun to narrow down your career choice. From the word ‘outdoors’ you can then consider what type of skills you have or would like to learn. Do you like to speak with customers or clients? Is problem solving something you’d like to be a part of? Would you like to develop products or lead a team?

Write down absolutely everything and anything you can think of that you like, and don’t worry about the specific words or phrases you use. Once you’ve jotted something down you can then narrow your search even further by research careers online that may cover most or all of your preferences.

Research a career

Hopefully you will now have a more focused direction on what you’d like to do. But don’t worry if you still haven’t managed to select an exact job title just yet, as long as you know what field you are interested in.

Now would be the perfect time to put in the research required to make a more informed choice. You will not be able to make a successful career change if you don’t conduct lots of research and take the time needed to understand what would be required of you.

Some careers demand a specific set of qualifications, skills or experience. So if you need to go back to college or university to gain a mandatory qualification, then you can now begin to find out how it all works. An online course from the convenience of your own home may allow you to continue to work. But don’t be afraid or put off by going back to school, because if your dream job demands certain things why not look into this and see how feasible it is. It may seem very scary having to go back into education, but if that’s what it takes then go for it!

If you are still unsure of what you want to do then you should take plenty of time researching potential careers. Not every job title offers a perfect job description online, especially when so many companies do things very differently. Consider contacting a particular company of interest to find out more information on what they do. Someone within the company would always be happy to discuss things further with you and let you know what would be required in order to work for them. They may have a training scheme that you can sign up for, or a list of specific courses you need to attend.

Don’t focus on what you can’t do

Most people decide against a career change because they doubt their abilities. Changing careers could of course mean going back into education, gaining work experience through entry level positions, learning new skills, and so on. This could take months or even years, but that doesn’t mean to say you should give up on your dream.

Taking a negative approach to a new career and telling yourself that you don’t have the skills is not going to get you anywhere. Be more positive and accept that you CAN and WILL learn new skills if you put your mind to it. You do of course need to be realistic with your goals, and someone who has never kicked a football in their life is not suddenly going to become a professional footballer at the age of 35. There is a clear distinction between changing careers from a receptionist to an airline pilot – which is a very realistic achievement; to someone who wants to suddenly become the next Ronaldo and play for Real Madrid!

Over the years you will have picked up lots of skills and experience that could be used in any career. Communication, team work, problem solving, organisation, work ethic, and so on – are all soft skills which would be beneficial to any employer. So don’t look down upon your current skillset negatively and instead search for the positives. Changing careers is all about what you can do and not what you can’t – yet!

Related articles:

  1. 3 reasons why your CV is failing you
  2. What really matters when an employer reads a CV?
  3. Using LinkedIn as your online CV

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