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How to plan and execute a career change

POSTED: 12th February 2016
IN: Personal Guides
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The start of a new year makes a number of us consider our career and what it is we want to achieve. We look at how you can go about making the changes that you want to your career.

If you have been in the same job or sector for a long time and are feeling increasingly disillusioned, it could be time for a career change.

The process of revamping your career should start with some probing questions, followed by some considered steps that will help ensure you achieve your ambitions.

How big a change do you want to make?

In light of the issues that have made you feel you need a career change, think about how big a change is required to address them.

Firstly, is it that your current role is getting you down? Before taking the leap to change jobs or take a different career path could your current role be improved? There is a good chance that having a frank discussion with your employer about your concerns could enable some positive changes.

It could also be worth speaking to your HR department about other roles available within your current organisation that might be preferable, before starting the search for an entirely new job.

What do you want to achieve?

So you’ve decided, that’s it, you are going to take the leap and have a complete career change. But how do you make sure that you make a success of this decision?

Think about what it is you want from your new career and what it is that is driving you to make the change and keep these in mind during the transition.

Questions to ask yourself:

  •          What are your priorities in your working and personal life?
  •          Do you want to make a change to achieve a better work-life balance?
  •          Are you driven by the ambition of boosting your earning potential or gaining more fulfilling professional experiences?

Keeping your key goals in mind will make it easier to focus your job searches and find the right opportunity to move your career forward.

Is a career change financially feasible?

As well as thinking about what you want from your career, it is important to consider practical issues like whether you have the financial capacity to allow the change.

There is a possibility that changing your job may require you to accept lower pay than you may have become accustomed to, particularly if you are starting afresh on a lower rung of the ladder in a new sector.

If you are determined to make a change despite the financial drawbacks, it might be necessary to build up some savings first to make the initial stages of the transition easier.

If after having asked yourself plenty of tough questions you feel sure that a career change is the right option for you, keeping some of the following points in mind can help to make sure the process runs smoothly.

Take things slowly

There is no need to rush into making big changes in your career. In fact, rushing is something you want to avoid at all costs, no matter how keen you are to make a change.

Give yourself time to think about factors like the type of skills you want to use in your new job, the sort of environment you want to work in and the kind of people you would like to collaborate with.

It might be necessary to commit to a long-term project like signing up to an evening course or training programme to prepare for your new career, perhaps volunteer some time and experience the job without having to make the full commitment of taking on a full time job.

Get your CV in shape

Getting your CV up to date and relevant to the sort of roles you will be applying for is a crucial step.

If you are aiming to make a transition between distinct sectors or professions, one of the key aims of your CV should be to highlight your transferable skills. Show prospective employers how the things you have learned in your previous job can be put to use in new ways.

Also, don't forget basic things like keeping your CV less than two pages long, checking for any spelling, grammatical or factual errors, and presenting it in a clear, accessible way with plenty of white space rather than blocks of text.

Do some networking

Word-of-mouth and personal advice are invaluable resources when it comes to finding out more about a particular sector and how the organisations within it operate.

Dasha Amrom, founder and managing director of Career Coaching Ventures, told the Guardian that talking to people currently employed by a company is simply the best way to learn about its culture and how it treats its staff, and that includes the recruitment process.

"Spread your net wide - from junior to senior employees to really understand how it all works and whether the culture is accepting of [career changers]," she advised.

Be positive and persevere

Finding a new job can be a tough task in any circumstances, but it can feel particularly challenging if you are moving into a brand new industry or profession.

If you are determined to make a big change in your career, strive to keep a positive mindset and don't let yourself be discouraged, regardless of how many obstacles you have to overcome.

Robin Kermode, leading European speech director and founder of Zone 2, said it is essential to have faith in yourself that you can make the change.

"One of the hardest things with a change of career is believing that we can do this new task," he explained.

Showing employers that you have confidence in your own ability to rise to new challenges and demonstrating a ‘can do’ attitude is likely to be one of the key steps on your journey to a new career. If you are looking for a career change then take a look at Aldermore’s career pages, we welcome people with a ‘can do’ attitude who want to join our team.

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