How to change your career path

Most people will contemplate changing their career at some point during their working lives. Not all will go through with it, but for those who do, the move can prove to be an extremely rewarding and edifying experience.

The reasons for wanting to change careers are varied, and in most cases, personal – job satisfaction, career growth, opportunities and remuneration being amongst the most common. However, it’s essential if you’re seriously considering a change that you thoroughly research your new chosen career path before taking action.

Here are some key pointers to keep in mind when considering a career change

  • Carry out a detailed self-assessment of your skills, accomplishments and the strengths which you can bring to a new role.

  • Assess the state of the industry/sector you wish to move into and the opportunities it offers to job seekers with little or no comparable experience.

  • Look at the external qualifications available which will allow you to make a smoother transition.

  • Investigate mentoring, internships and volunteering opportunities within companies and institutions in your chosen new field.

  • Study job descriptions and attend career fairs you can assess what areas you need work upon to meet new candidate criteria.

  • Network both online and in person to uncover opportunities and routes of entry into your field.

  • Set up informational meetings with professionals in your new area. This can also double as a key networking tool.

  • Build your CV in such a way that your transferable skills are highlighted.

  • Have confidence in your abilities. This is probably the most important under-lying ingredient for anyone considering a career change.

Know the risks

Changing your career demands a considerable level of commitment and carries with it certain risks including:

  • Lower salary – you may suffer financially if you need to study or join an organisation as an intern or volunteer.

  • Lower designation – you may not immediately (or ever) achieve the same status you previously held.

  • Lose contact with friends and colleagues – a new situation may take you out of contact with old friends and workmates.

  • Slower growth rate – the organisation/sector you join may not offer progression at a similar pace to your previous role.

  • Need to demonstrate your worth – you may be starting from scratch and will need to gain the trust and respect of new colleagues and managers, showing the value-add you can offer an entire organisation.

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