Career Development

Changing Careers? Here Are 5 Things You Should Know

With more choices available in today’s society, an individual is likely to change his mind about his career a number of times. A lot of driven and multi-talented people seek new careers due to lack of passion, growth, and purpose in their current work roles. Changing careers is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy. Often, it just means you’ve explored everything you can with your old position, and you’re ready to move on to something new. But before you take the leap, here are 5 things you should keep in mind when changing careers.

Conduct self-assessment

Before throwing the towel and handing in your resignation at your current job, it is important that you first do a self-assessment. Ask yourself what you really want to do, and factor in your values and work ethics. Think about that job you wanted as a child, or the work you loved doing even if you never get paid. This passion will guide you in determining what you want to do next. Define your strengths, and organise your skills and assets in such a way that your prospect employers would understand. Take note of your weaknesses and the things you can do to eliminate them. Don’t have a college diploma? You might want to try taking up online courses or try having your skills recognised.

It is also vital to consider your financial status, and whether your savings will allow you to immediately leave your current work. Getting a clear sense of one’s self and abilities will help you focus more on the central goal and how to achieve it.

Create an action plan

Once you decide on the new career you want to venture on, it’s time to work on your action plan. Start by outlining the steps you’ll take into achieving your goal of changing careers. Research about the environment and the long-term prospects of your new career. List down possible companies and employers that fit your career purpose. Leverage the connections you’ve built overtime. Ask friends and family members if they know anyone working in the field or companies that you are interested in. Start networking by attending events, trade shows, or conferences where you can meet and engage with people in your own field of interest.

Be ready to start at the bottom

Success does not happen overnight. Making a change and finding the perfect new role that fits you can be a challenge. There are times when you can transfer some expertise you’ve learned in your previous jobs, but there’s a big possibility that you’ll need to learn additional skills in dealing with your new job. Climbing the career ladder may take some time. It can get tough, frustrating, and tiresome. You need to be focused and efficient, and put your energy to get the outcome that you want. Allow yourself to be a beginner, and be ready to start at the bottom. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from mentors and colleagues that could benefit you in tackling your responsibilities in your new workplace.

Adjust your salary expectations

One of the biggest and toughest changes an individual faces when shifting careers is the possibility of a pay cut. When you’re entering a new company and starting from the bottom, a pay cut shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Adjusting your salary expectations is acceptable in order to position you for a more rewarding career. Employers value individuals who are willing to prove themselves and work their way up the ladder to your desired position and salary. Negotiating your salary does not mean you need to compromise your worth. A firm knowledge of your skills and assets will enable you to work out an acceptable starting salary.

Take your skills to the next level

Because change is the only constant thing in the world, you need to arm yourself with useful information that will help you adapt in whatever field you may choose to transfer. Taking up online courses, additional workshops, and trainings add to your existing knowledge and will prove beneficial in helping you land a prospect career. You can also take your skills to the next level by having them officially certified. Acquiring certification through RPL or Recognition of Prior Learning will increase your chances of getting hired by future employers.

Changing careers should not be treated as an “instant-cure” for people experiencing boredom or hardships at their current jobs. It should not be done on an impulse, because you might end up regretting your decision in the end. Changing careers entail a lot of introspection and careful planning. You have to be prepared mentally and financially. Accept that this new journey will take time, work, and a lot of effort.  A career change should not be viewed as a sign of weakness or inadequacy. More often than not, it is a sign that a person has purpose, vision, and clear aspiration to achieve self-growth and self-fullfilment.

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