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6 Tips for a successful career change

Kerry Thompson
People change careers for a variety of reasons. For some, it's a desire for more money, for others, it's in pursuit of turning a passion into a career. For many, it’s about feeling valued for the work you do.

We all know that changing careers, or applying for a new job, is a huge decision, and it can be stressful to take that leap.

It doesn't have to be so stressful though; let's make sure you nail the transition.

People change careers for a variety of reasons. For some, it's a desire for more money, for others, it's in pursuit of turning a passion into a career. For many, it’s about feeling valued for the work you do.

Whether you are after flexible working hours, or you think it’s time for a pay rise, it's helpful to do what you can to hit the ground running when it comes to career transition.

1: Do you really need, or want, to change careers?

Jumping ship isn't the only option. Ask yourself, what is it you’re wishing to leave behind in your current role?

  • Workplace stress?
  • Burnout?
  • A work environment that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable?
  • A feeling of being ‘stuck’ in your current role? Keep missing out on promotions?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but if one of these resonates with you, you might benefit from a shakeup in your current role. This is often where a career coach comes in 😉.

2: Ask yourself why you want to make a change?

If you decided that nothing can change your mind, and you want to make that leap, let's look at why, as this will help guide your search for your next career.

You could have a number of reasons for wanting to change careers:

  • You want to achieve a better work-life balance
  • You are no longer excited or challenged by your current career
  • You want to turn something you love, into a career

Whatever your reason is, it's important to nail this down and keep it at the front of your mind, as this will help to guide the next steps of your search for fulfilment. Whether that's in your current role or a new adventure.

3: Make Connections!

So many people neglect their LinkedIn profiles! Before you do anything, jump into LinkedIn and complete that profile. And ensure your professional identity is clear!

Now you have your profile complete, send connection requests to people within your space. Don't forget to make your profile public and add a message to the connection request as no one likes a LURKER.

Search out relevant posts that you are interested in and relevant to your working experience, and interact on them. Comments, likes and shares will increase your presence in your space, and you can be your own personal marketing agency. Again, be clear and true to your professional identity.

Look outside of your current network and make connections within other industries you may be interested in. Extra exposure will never be bad, and your network is often your biggest advocate!

Throughout this time, even if you eventually decide that you want to stay in your current role, you'll be building a valuable network and becoming more visible. With as little as 10 minutes a day, you'll be building connections for now and the future. The trick is to be consistent though, it’s not a short-term activity.

And most importantly, be helpful, valuable and visible to that network, and DON’T just connect with people when you want or need something. Again, it’s about consistency, not short bursts of action.

4: Look at your current skillset

What job roles have you held? What experience have you gained?

Whatever job roles you have been in before, and however long you have been in your current position, you'll have developed plenty of skills, both transferable and specific.

Write down the skills you have developed over your working life, including those that you might not have been able to flex within your current role. If you’re in doubt, ask others around you what you bring to the mix; current colleagues and past colleagues are a great source of information.

You never know what a potential employer/client is looking for, so it’s key that you are clear about who you are, your approach, and your professional identity, and it’s even more important that you can articulate it accurately. It could be the difference between getting the job or piece of work, and it going to someone else.

5: Update Your CV

We don't mean adding half-truths and ‘fluff’. We’ve all heard those stories of people who have been caught out by CV embellishments. DON’T DO IT!

Take a look at your CV through the eyes of a recruiter, client or potential employer.

  • Does it describe your professional identity accurately?
  • Is it a reflection of you?
  • Is it easy to read? Bullet points are your best friend when it comes to your CV!
  • Is it relevant? I know you’re proud of your football award from 1984, but if it’s not relevant to the role, get rid!

And if there are gaps, fill them!

What can you do to gain additional experience? Depending on your circumstances, part-time positions, internships and volunteering can be great ways of getting a foot in the door to the career you want.

6: Get Learning

Now you have looked at your current skill set, and you have optimised your CV, what other skills would you benefit from gaining?

Draw up a list of skills you would benefit from when applying for future roles.

Once you know what you need, or would like, to learn or gain, it’s time for action. Book a course, or find someone to teach you. It can even come from a book or a podcast. There are courses for everything, from coding to collaboration, but be careful you don’t get lost in the ‘certificate spiral’; the cycle of ‘one more course’ being the answer to our dreams.

Before we lose you, a career change can be an exciting time. We acknowledge that it can also be stressful, and anxiety-inducing, this can be controlled by careful navigation.

To make your career transition smoother, and to make it easier to navigate your change, we can guide you through the process so you can focus on getting the best out of the opportunities you will be presented with. If you are considering a career change, drop us a message and we can organise a free, no-obligation discovery session today!

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