The New Year is traditionally a time for change, promises, goal setting and resolutions. Some of them personal, and some professional. Some realistic… and some made with the best of intentions as the umpteenth bottle of champagne is uncorked at midnight.
Tired of doing the same old thing month after month at work? Looking to move into a role where you can thrive in doing something you love, or contribute back to society? If your New Year goal is to change careers, make the most of those New Year goal-setting endorphins and that abundance of motivation to get a smart plan in place.
If you really want to make this year count towards your career goals, you need to think carefully about what it is you want. Between all the social happenings of the festive season, take some time out just for you and think about your career calling.
Think big, and try not to self-censor. If you need a little help getting the ball rolling, consider:
- What you wanted to be when you ‘grew up’
- What you loved to do as a child, or something you wish you had more time for now
- The kind of job you would do if money wasn’t an issue
- Industries and careers you always find yourself reading and thinking about
Dedicating time to really think about what you want to do is the crucial first step to a successful career change. So don’t scrimp on the day dreaming!
Are you lucky enough to know in your bones what it is you want to do for the rest of your working life? Blue-sky thinking is important, but you’ve also got to be prepared to transfer that dream into a plan and make it a reality. It’s time to start researching how you’re going to get yourself into a position to land that much-coveted role.
Read everything you can about leaders in your chosen industry and follow their example. What did they do to get to where they are? And what do you need to do to make your career change happen?
Our tips for finding out more information:
- Follow industry thought leaders online
- Check out job listings related to your chosen industry to see what your future employers are looking for
- Get in contact with recruiters for advice
- Get an understanding of the required or desired qualifications for your new career
- Read the business blogs of prospective employers to gain insights on the industry
Forget quitting sugar or promising to train an unrealistic amount per week. Why not make a New Year resolution to commit to upskilling your way into your new role? As Walt Disney, who spent a year of his early working life driving an ambulance in France, once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Enrol in a relevant online course, full-time or part-time, that will teach you the tools of the trade. Take up a related volunteer position that will give you real world experience and insight. Look at ways to develop relevant transferable skills, such as time management, team coordination or budget projection. Set up Google Alerts and become an impassioned walking encyclopaedia of industry news, demonstrating your interest in the field and determination to succeed.
While you may be excited about your resolution to change careers, you may not be quite ready to shout it from the rooftops. That being said, it is possible to network and make contacts in a new industry without your current employer being aware of your plans. Start getting your name out there, meeting and connecting with industry players, and letting trusted friends know that you’ll be making the transition to your Dream Career in the new year.
Networking can be daunting if you don’t have an extroverted personality, but it can also be invaluable in putting you on the right people’s radar. Even if you’re shy, you can network in your own way, which will come across as more genuine and engaging.
Some hot tips for networking like a pro:
- Join industry-related Meetup groups and clubs
- Subscribe to industry news and keep your eye out for networking events, expos and conferences
- Contact industry leaders and mention you’d love to ask them a question or two if they ever have the time to email, meet for a coffee, or chat via Skype
Once you’ve been steadily working away at the above career-changer tasks, your ‘New Year New You’ priority will be to put all that hard work into action and begin applying for relevant Dream Job roles. Create notifications on SEEK so you can be alerted when roles become available, brush up your CV, create a cover letter well-suited to the role you’re gunning for, and begin putting yourself out there and preparing for interviews.
One of the greatest stumbling blocks for people making any kind of New Year resolution is the loss of momentum and motivation as the year wears on. Make regular dates with yourself in your diary to assess your career changing progress and adjust your goals to stay on track. Good luck!