Do you actually need to change career? (or just your job)

Changing your whole career can be a lot more complicated than simply changing your job. Changing your job means you are remaining in the same area of work – for example, if an accounts assistant moves into another accounts assistant job in another company.

In a case like that it is generally not the area of work that is a problem, but an aspect of that particular job; The pay, a difficult boss or you’re simply not enjoying working for the company.

Changing career usually means you aren’t happy with the whole area of work you are in.

You are not happy being an accountant or a teacher, for instance, and you are looking to get out of it entirely, starting from scratch in a completely new area.

1. Do you you actually need to change careers?

When you’re considering a career change you firstly make sure you actually need to change career!

This seems a strange thing to say, but people regularly come to me in my role as a Careers advisor feeling disinterested and demotivated in their current job, believing that they need a change career.

After talking to them, and analysing their feelings it becomes clear that they are just in the wrong type of environment.  They actually love many aspects of their actual career!

2. Factors to consider when planning a career change

Bear in mind that changing careers costs time and money and, initially, is often difficult.  You need to be prepared.

Once you’ve decided it definitely is your career, not just your job that needs changing you can start making preparations.

Firstly make sure you have a clear idea of what you think you would be good at.  Having a clear aim based on this will make you more far likely to succeed.

In order to ensure your career change is successful you may need to:

  • Attend night classes
  • Invest money and time
  • Do voluntary work

So be prepared for the amount of upheaval it may cause!

3. What career change resources and tools are available?

There are a number of Career Change tools you can use to help you. The National Careers Service has a tool kit to help you determine the skills you have that can be transferred to another job.

Make sure you are very clear about the skills you have and consider how they could be utilised in a different environment.

Don’t forget the following types of skills:

  • Skills from outside work (Perhaps you have done voluntary work or organise a big family on a daily basis!)
  • Things you have done in your spare time (Maybe you have hobbies, play sports or are involved in a charity)
  • Anything demonstrating social skills, leadership skills and working with others.

All these skills can be transferred into a new environment.  Go back through your C.V. very carefully. Look at everything you have done.

Think about the skills you have displayed – You might be amazed at how many different skills you have!

4. Minimising the risks of an unsuccessful career change

The best way of transferring into a new career and doing so at low risk is to firstly “suss it out”.  Before you start a completely new career strategy, talk with people currently working in that career if possible.

You may, after talking to them, think that you don’t like the sound of it in reality (What you read in books doesn’t always match up to reality!).

Sometimes it is possible to “try before you buy”.  If you’re are considering a move from civil engineering to a career in the care sector try doing some voluntary work before committing to the leap.

Doing this you will also start building up a small portfolio of work experience and skills you can utilise.
Working part time can sometimes help whilst you are gaining any extra qualifications you might need to move into your new career.

You could work part time in two jobs at the same time, in your old career and in your new so you are building skills without completely cutting ties and risking everything for you new career.

Make sure this is actually going to suit you so you avoid being in a very similar position next year but probably on a lower wage. Before going on a postgraduate course or doing something totally new thoroughly research it!

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