Choosing a career is never an easy option, but what if your dream job turns out to be more of a nightmare? Changing career paths can seem like a huge decision to make but if you are not happy where you are, having a change of heart could be the sensible thing to do. After all, you spend a huge part of your life working and it is important to be happy. Here are eight tips for making a career change.
Consider Your Strengths
You are likely to have a lot of transferrable skills, especially if you have been working for a while. Think about what aspects of your current job you are good at and what parts of it you like and dislike. For example, you may enjoy using your people skills at work but dislike the paperwork that comes with the job. Therefore, you know that you should be looking for a career that gives you more time to hone your social skills and less time pen pushing.
Consider Your Interests
If you have considered a complete change of career, then think about what you are interested in. Your hobbies may have given you some great skills or interests that you might want to pursue now. Make a list of the things you are interested in and research what careers they could be used in.
Assess Your Options
Once you have thought about the type of career you might like, think about whether this is likely to be an option for you. You should never give up on your dreams, but you should be realistic. You might not make it as an astronaut or a lion tamer, but you could look for a career in the field of science or work with animals.
Make a shortlist of the career paths you are interested in. Once you have narrowed down your options and defined your strengths, you should be left with a few careers that are definite possibilities for you. Then all you have to do is pick one of these options.
Research your shortlist by looking on the internet or speaking to people who are already doing the job you are interested in. Find out what is involved and make sure that the job is what you think it will be. There is no point in jumping ship and then realizing that you don’t like your new career any more than you liked your old one.
You should consider whether you will be able to pursue your new dream job from your current location or whether you would have to consider moving to increase your chances of employment. Think about how willing you would be to move if necessary and whether that would be practical for you at this stage in your life.
Consider whether you are already qualified to get a job in a new industry or whether you would have to take some more qualifications before you can get your foot in the door. If you need to get qualified, consider how easy this would be and how long you might need to study for.
This may sound like a lot of work but, once you have gotten to this stage, you will have a good idea of what industry you want to work in and what you will need to do to get hired. You will have to accept that it might not be possible to waltz straight into your boss’s office and quit, but you can start to set yourself goals. Put a time plan together and work out what steps you will need to take to achieve your aims and how long it is likely to take you to get there.
Take the First Steps
Changing careers does take a lot of planning but it will be worth it to get your dream job. You can start on your new path without leaving your old career, and this is important, especially if you still need to bring in a wage. Studying online is a great option if you need to continue working for a while. For example, getting a qualification such as an online nursing degree for non nurses from Baylor University will help you to qualify as a nurse without having to leave your day job straight away.
It would be great if you could try on your new career for size at this stage too as that way you can make sure you will like it. Depending on your chosen career, you may be able to do some volunteer work in the industry or spend time shadowing someone who already has the job. This experience can be invaluable to you, so it is worth researching.
Brush Up on Your Job-Hunting Skills
If you have worked in your job for a while, then your job-hunting skills may be a little rusty. Putting together a great resume listing your transferrable skills as well as your new qualifications or work experience can help you to land interviews.
If your interview skills need work, then enlist a friend to help you and role-play an interview or two. You might be stumped by having to talk about yourself, and answering competency-based questions can be tricky but, if you have practiced in a safe environment, then the real thing won’t feel as daunting.
Some companies hold assessment days. If you are asked to attend one of these then research what is likely to be expected of you on the day. The requirements will change depending on what company is assessing you, but if you know what to expect, you are likely to feel more relaxed and perform better.
It is never too late to have a change of heart and decide that you would be happier in a new career. Follow the above tips to help you decide what you want to do and how you are going to achieve your dream job. Good luck in your job search.