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How do I change to a completely different career?

Thinking about your next career move - useful blogs

It’s a fact: people will change jobs at least eight times during their lifetime, sometimes much more than that. Then changing your job is not the same thing as changing your career – a much greater move altogether and which involves a further range of possible options. 

Starting with “Why do you want to do it?” you’ll need to research and satisfy several credible questions before you can be sure you’re making the right move. But, having done so, the rewards could be worth it.

 

The desire to change jobs or career will occur to almost everyone at some point in his or her life. Or will it? Changing your career is quite a bold step and not one to be taken lightly. However, some are happy just to change jobs. In any event, you should first ask yourself three questions:  “Why?” “What?” “How?”

Why? 

There will always be the ‘greener grass syndrome’, which, as we all know, can be illusory.   However, there may be any number of legitimate reasons for your wish to move on, including, e.g, a poor working environment, colleagues or boss, not having your efforts appreciated. Still, before you write your letter of resignation, find out whether a move to another department or office location might also be possible - and the real answer. Again, be wary of that ‘green grass’…. 

Or you may simply wish to get ahead with your career and, if relevant, you should know why you want to move sectors entirely. You may have decided to change from the public to the private sector (or vice versa). If one of the first questions at your interview is “So tell me, Adele, why did you want to make this move?” you will need to know the answer. If you do, excellent. If you’re wavering…..!

What? 

What is it that you really want to do? Are you looking to work at home more? Or do you think you need to be more goal-focused? Would you like a job that involves more travel (local, UK-wide or international)? Perhaps you want to forge a new career in sales and/or marketing. You may simply want something that’s more stress-free. These are just examples – the list of ‘new opportunities’ 

is clearly endless – but they all require you to have researched fully the pros and cons of the one you choose. You must identify the pitfalls, possibly the need for further qualification(!) and appreciate the genuine chances of success. If you see this change of job, or even career, as the next, but final, step, that’s fine. However, if it’s to be a step on your path to ‘overall career success and fulfilment’, then you must know what this role is all about, and what part it will play in the journey. 

How

OK, how are you now going to make the move? We’ve shown already how important research is in any of these plans, but so is networking . If you do want to go into, say, marketing, or the private sector, or move to the Leeds office, contact and meet people who are already there. You don’t need to know them personally but make contact – and tell them you’d really appreciate their advice; people react well to that. And, crucially, will probably introduce you to more key people – and on you go.. 

So how? Try social media – LinkedIn is an amazing source of people who you will find by inserting the relevant search criteria, e.g. “sales & marketing” within “fashion retail” in “Leeds” and who would be delighted to help you. And if you plan to move within your organisation, the same rule applies. Network. What you discover could change your approach and either help your application enormously - or put you off the idea altogether.

Summary

A career change is, by definition, one step beyond simply a change of job. But the same rules of research and networking apply equally to both. 

Question why you want to move, and whether there are alternative ploys. Know what this new role entails, whether you’re capable of doing it and, if not, if further training is required. And, finally, decide how you’re going to go about getting in front of the right people, either as part of your research or for interview.

Once you’ve satisfied these criteria, you can make that move with confidence.

 

Key Points

  • Why move at all?
  • Carry out full research
  • What, exactly, is this ‘new’ role all about?
  • Network and meet contacts face-to-face. (so much better)
  • How to make the next (and final?) move

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