At some point in our working lives, most of us will question whether we’re in the right job or even on the right career path altogether. It’s usually accompanied by a horrible sinking feeling as we see a bleak and long road to retirement, start to regret past choices and begin to doubt we’re young enough or experienced enough to make a big leap into another profession.
If you’re unhappy on your current career trajectory and want to follow a completely different route, how do you go about making a smooth and successful career change? Here are three steps you can take to help you slide seamlessly into your ideal new role.
Find something worthwhile
There’s no point swapping one unfulfilling job for an equally unsatisfying one. Take some time to think about the things that really matter to you and find where your interests and passions truly lie, be it baking, crafting jewellery or furniture, helping coach your children’s football team or simply getting out into the countryside to walk the dog.
Somehow or other there’s a way you can incorporate what you really enjoy doing into your working life and monetise your skills or hobbies. You may never become a millionaire off the back of it (although plenty of people have), but you will find greater satisfaction and a sense that you’re doing something more worthwhile.
Make use of your contacts
You may not have any direct contacts in the industry you want to move into, but never underestimate the power of friends and even friends of friends. Once you know the sort of job you’d like to change to, put out some feelers and find out if there are any acquaintances you might know who can offer useful advice. Social media is an incredibly useful tool, so polish your LinkedIn profile and look for contacts on company’s social pages.
Getting a foot in the door can be tricky, especially if you don’t have much experience in your new chosen field and are at a disadvantage compared to other candidates. Finding someone who can help pull a few strings and/or vouch for your credibility could be the quickest way of jump-starting your new career.
Work on your skills
Whether you’re hoping to strike out on your own as a freelancer or simply want a permanent job in a totally different industry, find out which skills you’ll need and work on them. Look for courses or qualifications you could take to boost your CV, but don’t dwell too deeply on the differences between your old and new career paths. You may not be able to list much direct experience, but there are plenty of transferable ‘soft’ skills which employers everywhere will value.
You might need to put your thinking cap on and find creative ways of phrasing things, but put a positive slant on your resumé by concentrating on the crossover areas between your old and new jobs – interpersonal skills, good communication and an ability to problem solve are all in demand and relevant whatever career you choose.
Making a big career move can seem like a daunting prospect, but with a little forward thinking and a positive can-do attitude, you could easily make a smooth and successful change. If you find something you love doing, find the right people to help you and develop or acquire new skills, you could soon be ready to take the plunge and start an amazing new chapter in your working life.