How to make a successful career change

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Change of any type can be utterly terrifying. How do you know if you are making the right decision? What if a change in careers means you lose everything you’ve worked for up until now? Does it mean you’ve failed? That said, there are so many good reasons for a career change – perhaps there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, your current job isn’t making you happy, or you’re just not progressing in the way you want to. So how do you make a successful career change?

Where do you want to go?

The first thing, before jumping ship, is to think about where exactly it is that you want to go. If you’re making a career change, it’s best to know which industry or field you’re heading to, rather than leaving your current role and floundering around aimlessly before making a mistake. This is your opportunity to change something huge about your daily life, so make sure you give yourself time and space to think about all the options – you could become a firefighter, a teacher, work in marketing or start your own business. Consider all the options available to you, or you might find yourself wanting to try something entirely different after just a few months.

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Remember that the grass isn’t always greener

Leaving your data analyst job to become a beauty stylist might sound like the dream, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. No job is perfect (even if you were an ice cream taster, for example, you’d feel sick eventually!), and your life isn’t going to be magically amazing by just changing careers. However, things can become pretty great with a career change, so make sure you get all the information you can to decide whether a job change is for you. Look online, read articles, speak to people in the field and see if the job is as great as you imagine.

Get experience

If your current work experience is just in one specific area and you are looking to change careers entirely, it’s time to get some experience. Volunteering is the best way to build up this experience, and as an added benefit, you will be able to try the job on for size and make sure it really is for you. Take on as much experience and extra training as you can – prove that you are an excellent candidate for the job. You might have to take a stepping stone position, and it is quite likely to be a lower rank than your current role (especially if you’ve worked your way up), but if you are serious about a career change, then this shouldn’t be an issue.

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Transfer your skills

It might seem as though your current skills are entirely useless for the new career you are considering, but if you really look at it, you will be surprised. Skills such as communication and teamwork are relevant for any role, and showing that you are computer literate is likely to useful. Try to think of the more obscure ways your skills might be applicable, for example, if you worked in sales and are now looking to become a teacher, perhaps being flexible and working under pressure will be transferable. Your ability to deal with demanding customers and be persuasive could be put to use in a classroom setting. Now all you need to do is convince a potential employer of just how relevant your skills are!

Good luck! If a career change is for you, go for it! It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

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