My Top 6 Tips on Changing Careers

October 22nd, 2013


So you’ve had enough of your current job. You’ve talked about it with your friends, family, significant other. You’ve even sought out professional advice from a career counsellor, coach or therapist and it remains abundantly clear – your current career is not doing it for you anymore, you’re miserable and the thought of going into work each day makes you physically sick. This leads to your decision to make a complete career change, so here are my top tips in making the transition run more smoothly.

1. Pick a new career. Sounds simple and is obvious but requires a lot of soul searching and research. A good place to start is to figure out what your strengths are. A great book that will help with this is ‘Now Discover Your Strengths’ by Marcus Buckingham or ‘Strengths Finder 2.0’ by Tom Rath. These books can even give you suggestions on what career would suit you depending on your strengths. List all the possible careers that suit your strengths and see how each resonates with you or you may already know what it is you want to do. If not, a good career coach or career counsellor can help you uncover what you truly desire as a career, it would be worth spending the money on these services to help with your decision making.

2. Look within your current role. Changing careers doesn’t always have to mean resigning from the place you currently work in. For example, say you currently work in the marketing department of a pharmaceutical company but you would love to be part of the sales team. Perhaps you can change careers without having to leave your current place of employment, it may even save you from writing your resume and going through the interview process. If you’ve proved yourself to be a valuable employee, it would be in your employers best interests to move you to a different department than lose you altogether. You could even request to work in that department for a week or two to try it out and to make sure it’s what you really want to do.

3. Research. Once you have a particular career in mind, learn as much about that career as possible. Do you need to retrain, do a particular course or go back to University? How long will it take for you to be qualified for this career? What is the expected wage? Are jobs in this career abundant? Speak to recruitment agencies and find out the answers to these questions. Better yet, network with people already in this industry and pick their brain, ask as many questions as possible to ensure you’re making the right decision.

4. Plan the move now. If possible start making the changes to your new career before you resign from your current one. If you need to retrain or do a course, enrol in one that you can take in the evening perhaps.  A lot of courses these days also allow you to do them online at a time that suits you. You may be a lot busier and have less leisure time but better that (which will only be temporary) than have no income for a few weeks or months as you need to keep in mind that some courses can be quite expensive.

5. Start updating your resume. Go back to your current resume and rejig it or write a new one.  If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter on my website you’d receive my top 11 tips to writing an effective resume. If you’re changing to a completely different career it is definitely in your best interests to customise your resume to the industry you’re thinking of changing too. Again, it would be advisable to seek professional resume help to ensure that your resume will be suitable for that industry.

6. Brush up on your interview skills. Start thinking about common interview questions and also think about how to answer them. My previous post here will help you with this. Ask people already in the industry you want to work in what kinds of questions to expect. Generally a common question is  to know how you’ve handled difficult work situations in the past. By thinking about answers to possible interview questions now will help make you less nervous and more confident when the time comes.

Depending on whether you do or don’t know what career move to make will determine how long or short the process of a career change will be. It’s important that you ensure this process runs as smoothly as possible to avoid financial disasters or ruining your professional reputation. So take into consideration the tips mentioned above to prevent you feeling stressed and confused.

So, what will be your first step into changing to a career you truly want? Please let me know in the comments below…

All the best


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