How to change careers

Whether you’re unhappy in your current role or want to go after your ultimate dream job, changing careers can involve a number of key steps to ensure that the transition is a successful one. Consider this your step-by-step guide on how to make it happen.

Determine what kind of career change you want

The type of career change you want will determine the course of action you take. Do you want to stay in the same field or move into an entirely new industry? Some job moves that may involve more work experience whereas others could require a new qualification or training.

Spend some time doing a career audit by listing your strengths and weaknesses, along with what you do and don’t enjoy in your current role.

If you find that you’re happy with the type of work that you’re doing but just need a new challenge, then perhaps a move into a different department or promotion is what you should focus on.

Research the market

Check out current job advertisements for roles that are currently available and the skills required. Does your skill set match up? If not, start to think about the steps you’ll need to take to be a competitive candidate in this area.

Familiarise yourself with the industry and research the key organisations within the field and where the growth areas are. Before making any drastic changes, see the current salaries on offer - this will help you determine how a career change might impact your finances.

Build on your skills

If you want to stay in the same industry but are gunning for a promotion or a move into a different department, focus on filling the gaps in your skill set.

Identify the qualifications you may need if you’re moving into a completely new field. For example, if you’re currently working as an accountant but would love to become a child care worker, this will require you to look into further training and certificates.

Volunteer work is also a great way to get some on the job training at a relevant organisation.

Get some new qualifications

If you need to gain a new qualification to make a career change, carve out some time to research courses and determine how studying will fit into your current schedule. Luckily, there are now plenty of flexible study options available, such as online learning and self-paced study so you can fit your course around other commitments.

Give your CV a makeover

Presenting yourself as a potential candidate in the job market requires a strong CV. Be sure to tailor your CV to each role you apply for and highlight any relevant experience and qualifications you may have.

Identify any transferable skills you may have from your current role such as strong communication skills or management experience as these will be valuable in any role.

Begin job hunting

Realistically speaking, a career change will require a lot of time spent in front of the computer applying for roles. Read each advertisement carefully to assess your suitability for the role and be sure to tailor your cover letter and CV for each role.

To make the job hunting process a little more engaging, be proactive and start networking to explore any potential job opportunities. Reach out to your current contacts list of family, friends and trusted work colleagues past and present and alert them to the fact you’re currently searching for new roles.

Your initial background research into the industry would have unearthed the key players in the field. Don’t be afraid to make contact with these people to see if they would be open to a meeting to discuss the industry. Not only will this provide you with valuable insights, it’s also a great way to build up your professional networking and mentoring opportunities.