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We are asked from an early age what we want to be when we grow up. As children, the question is usually followed by answers such as ‘a celebrity’, a ‘singer’ or even ‘a princess.’ However, as we grow older, these goals tend to change to align more with our interests, passions, and skills. However, this does not mean that once we enter a certain career – we have to stick with it forever. After all, sometimes our circumstances or interests alter rapidly – meaning that a career we once loved could quickly become a chore.
In fact, there are many reasons why you may wish to change careers. This could include:
- A lack of professional fulfillment or opportunity for progression.
- A poor relationship with your work colleagues/superiors.
- A poor work-life balance, especially if you are expected to work unsociable hours.
- Insufficient pay or poor employee benefits.
- Changing/developing interests outside of your current industry.
- Hunger for a new challenge or a desire to try something new.
However, changing careers can also be incredibly stressful – as it includes some element of risk-taking. After all, you may leave your current job without having anything new lined up, which could be a definite cause for worry. Nevertheless, if this risk allows you to find a career that you truly love – it is worth it in the long run. With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to change careers (without the stress).
Look over your current employment contract. If you are preparing to resign from your current position, it is important that you check over your current contract and ensure you provide your employers with the appropriate notice period ahead of time. Typically, a notice period tends to be somewhere within the remit of 1-2 months – but some contracts are longer. Furthermore, some companies require employees to sign ‘non-compete’ clauses – that means you cannot work in a similar industry for a set period of time after your resignation. Understanding your legal position means that you are putting your best foot forward when terminating your contract. Providing your employer with adequate notice also increases the chances of you parting on good terms – meaning they will provide you with a great reference for future job applications. This means you could also maintain professional relationships that allow you to further your career.
Think carefully about what career is right for you. It’s important that you find a job that not only matches your interests but aligns with your skills and long term goals. While it can be hard to find a position that ticks every single one of your boxes – you should at least have a general idea of the kind of industry you want to enter. One way in which you can help better understand your vision is by carrying out a personality test, such as the MBTI Test. Upon completion of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, you’ll be able to figure out which careers or industries are best suited to your unique personality type – and begin your job search from there. In addition to completing personality tests, you may also wish to consult with a careers advisor, who will be able to guide you in the right direction in terms of a specific career or industry.
Think about your transferable skills. Sometimes, switching to a new career will require you to retrain or gain some new qualifications ahead of time. However, it’s also important to remember that you may be more prepared for this new position than you think – as a result of the transferable skills you have already acquired in your academic and professional career. For example, the following skills are universal, meaning they can be utilized in just about any profession:
- Good communication (written and verbal)
- Critical thinking & reasoning
Know how to impress in a job interview to land your dream job. When entering a new career, you may feel as though you are the least-qualified candidate in the waiting room – especially if you are up against those with previous industry experience. However, regardless of your thought process – it’s important that you don’t let the interviewer know that. If you don’t believe that you are the best person for the job, why would they?As a result, it’s important that you appear confident and collected throughout. Instead of focusing on your weaknesses (i.e. lack of industry-specific experience), focus on the traits you are bringing to the table (adaptability, drive and focus). If you are lacking in confidence, buy yourself a new outfit beforehand. This can help you appear more professional and give you the confidence you need to succeed!
Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary. While your salary/wages may not be the reason you enter into a specific field, it is important that you are compensated fairly for your time and efforts. An entry position does not necessarily have to mean low pay – despite what employers may have you think. As a result, it is important that you know your worth and negotiate your salary where appropriate. When entering a negotiation, write down a list of reasons as to why you may deserve higher pay. This could include previous experience, educational qualifications and transferable skills. By being your own biggest advocate, you could raise your salary considerably. You should also pay close attention to the salary provided to those in similar positions in other companies – as this will inform you as to whether or not you are being underpaid.
Remember that it’s never too late. Sometimes, we may stay in a job because we feel as though we have no other options – that we are too far along in our careers to take a risk or try something new. It’s important to remember that this is simply not the case. It is never too late to follow your dreams, or set yourselves new goals – both professional and personal. Don’t let uncertainty turn you away from pursuing your dreams and finding the perfect career.