Are you considering a change in career? Maybe you’ve discovered new interests, or your values have changed. Perhaps you want more flexible hours, or have moved and want to start a career in a field that better suits your new location.
Whatever your reason, it’s easier to change careers than it’s ever been, and the benefits of doing so can be huge.
But don’t go in blind.
When your life takes an exciting new turn, it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and ‘take the leap’ – but when it comes to your livelihood and your future, it’s always better to go in prepared.
That’s why Three Whiskey‘s Talent Director, Derek Walters has compiled a list of steps for you to take before making the change.
1. Evaluate where you are and where you’ve been
Before making any big decisions, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate where you are and what you want.
If you need to, keep a journal to see if there are any recurring themes at work. What do you particularly like or dislike about where you are? Is it a career change you need or just a change of environment?
Also, review past successful roles and assess your interests, values and skills and how they may have changed over the years. Give yourself the ‘full picture’ of your current circumstances.
2. Do your research
Research ideas for career alternatives and check out several different job options. Try to keep things as open as possible and don’t limit yourself.
Talking to friends, family or professional contacts is a particularly good way to research different jobs, because these people will know and understand you better than an online survey or Google search ever could. It’s also an opportunity to get an honest, first-hand account of a career you’re interested in but may not know much about.
3. Try it out
Find volunteer or freelance opportunities related to your target field to test your interest. For example, if you want to go into journalism, try editing a local newsletter, or submit articles as a side-project.
There’s no better way to test out if you’re suited to a role than by actually doing it.
4. Up-level your skills
If you’re changing careers, you’ll need to be able to bridge your background to your new field. This may mean taking a course, attending seminars or even getting an entirely new degree!
But you don’t always have to go back to school to get the learning you need. There may even be ways for you to develop new skills in the job you’re currently in that could pave the way for a change.
5. Consider staying in your industry
Staying in your current field would make use of the industry knowledge and contacts you already have and get you ahead of the game when it comes to applying to new positions.
It’s also likely that there was something that appealed to you about your current industry in the first place. You can keep that, and still give yourself a new challenge by applying within the same industry.
When you’re ready to start applying to new jobs, you’ll need to write a cover letter that reflects your aspirations as well as a new, refocused CV. Here are some tips for writing a digitally optimised CV.
Three Whiskey are members of the CMA. Find out more about their work on their member page.