So you are thinking about making a career change?
You have been working in the same industry for years and you feel like it is time for a new challenge. But, you are not sure where to start. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through the process!
In this blog post, we will outline the first steps that you need to take when exploring a career change to a new industry. Follow these tips, and you will be on your way to an exciting new career!
Do I need a new job?
There are many symptoms of being unhappy with your job. If you are constantly dreading going to work, if you are not being challenged, or if you feel like you are not making a difference, then it might be time for a change.
If you find yourself daydreaming about other careers or industries, that is also a sign that you should explore your options.
What if a career change is too risky?
Changing careers can be a big decision, and it is normal to feel some anxiety about it. But, remember that you will never know unless you try.
If you are unhappy with your current situation, then the risk might be worth it. Plus, there are ways to minimize the risk when changing careers. You can start by doing your research, talking to people in the industry, and getting some experience through internships or part-time jobs.
What are my options when changing careers?
When exploring a career change, it is important to consider all of your options. What are the different industries that interest you? What are the different roles within those industries? What are the skills that you would need to transition into a new role?
Once you have a good understanding of the options available to you, you can start to narrow down your choices.
How do I make the transition to a new career?
Making the transition from one career to another new career can be daunting, but it is possible with some planning and effort.
First, you need to update your resume and cover letter to reflect your new career goals. Then, you can start networking with people in the industry and look for job openings that match your skill set.
Finally, you should consider taking some courses or getting certification in order to make the transition smoother.
OK, so what’s the formula for a career change?
Well, this is where the 10 steps come in. Let’s look at the very first steps you can follow to begin your research and explore them each in depth:
1. Pick out the things you need to avoid
What do you hate most about your current job? Is it the company culture? The commute? The customers? Your boss?
Figure out what it is that you can’t stand, and make a list. Then, do some research on different industries and try to find one that would be a better fit for you.
For example, if you can’t stand your commute, look into companies that are located closer to your home. Or, if you don’t like working with customers, look for a job that would be more behind the scenes. Once you have an idea of the type of industry you want to explore, you can start to narrow down your options.
2. Set your boundaries
Now you know what you hate, how can that inform what you set as your non-negotiable factors? If you’ve decided that you need a shorter commute, then make sure to only apply to jobs that are within commuting distance. If you need more flexible hours, look for part-time or remote positions.
By setting your boundaries early on, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy in the long run. Don’t be tempted to ignore them, even if a job sounds perfect in every other way.
Remember, you are looking for a career that is the right fit for you, and that means taking your needs into account.
3. Figure out your core values
What do I mean by core values? These are the things that are most important to you in a job. For example, some people might value creativity and autonomy, while others might place importance on stability and security.
Think about what is most important to you in a job, and make a list of your core values. Once you have that list, you can start to look for jobs that align with those values.
For example, if you value creativity, you might want to look for a job in the arts or media. Or, if security is important to you, you might want to look for a government job or a position at a large corporation.
Once you have an idea of the type of job you are looking for, you can start to search for openings.
4. Write down all your interests
Your interests or hobbies can be a good guide in thinking about new opportunities. For example, if you enjoy cooking, you might want to look into jobs in the food industry. Or, if you like working with your hands, you might want to consider a job in construction or engineering.
On the other hand, you don’t always have to align a job perfectly with your personal interests. Sometimes, it can be helpful to explore a new interest that you never thought about before.
For example, if you are interested in history, you might want to consider working in a museum. Or, if you like working with people, you might want to look into jobs in customer service or sales.
Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to try something new. This step is more about finding helpful inspiration.
5. Define your headline transferable skills
Everyone has skills, but some of them are more useful across many industries. These are what we call “transferable skills.”
Some examples of transferable skills include:
If you are not sure what your headline transferable skills are, spend some time looking at job postings and see what skills are required for the positions that interest you. Once you have a good understanding of your transferable skills, you can start to look for jobs that require those skills.
For example, if you are a good writer, you might want to look for jobs in marketing or communications. Or, if you are good at analysis, you might want to consider a job in consulting or research.
Remember, your transferable skills are a valuable asset, so don’t be afraid to highlight them on your resume and in job interviews.
6. Picture your ideal working environment
Do you want to work in a big city or a small town? Do you want to work in an office or from home? Do you want to work for a large company or a small business?
Think about the type of working environment that would be the best fit for you. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can start to look for jobs that match your desired environment.
Remember, your ideal working environment might change over time. For example, you might start out wanting to work in a big city, but after a few years, you might decide that you would prefer to work in a small town.
Keep your options open and don’t be afraid to try something new.
7. Decide what is most important
When changing careers, deciding what is most important to you is important. Do you want a high salary? A flexible schedule? Good benefits?
Think about what is most important to you and make a list of your priorities. Once you have that list, you can start to look for jobs that match your priorities.
For example, if you are looking for a high salary, you might want to look for jobs in the financial or tech industries. Or, if you are looking for a flexible schedule, you might want to look for jobs that offer telecommuting or part-time options.
Remember, your priorities might change over time. For example, you might start out wanting a high salary, but after a few years, you might decide that you would prefer a more flexible schedule.
8. Write down as many options as possible
So far you’ve done a lot of work analyzing yourself and writing lists. Now is the time to go nuts and bring it all together. You need as big a list of ideas as possible. Crazy ideas, tiny ideas, anything goes.
Get a big sheet of paper and write down every single idea that you have, no matter how crazy it might seem. Once you have your list, you can start to narrow it down.
Don’t limit your thinking, and don’t worry about whether or not an idea is realistic. The goal here is to come up with as many ideas as possible.
You might want to look for jobs that match your skills and interests, or you might want to consider starting your own business. There are endless possibilities, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
9. Do the first round of online research
When you then look at your long list of different options, hopefully, all the previous steps suddenly make it far easier to identify which options are actually potentially interesting and possible.
Start with easy online research to get a better understanding of what each option could entail. What would be the day-to-day work? What kind of skills would you need? What is the job market like for that particular field?
You can find a lot of this information by doing a simple Google search, reading articles, or watching YouTube videos. Just remember to take everything you read and watch with a grain of salt, as not everything you find online will be accurate.
Do your best to get a general understanding of each option on your list. After this initial research, you should have a better idea of which options are realistic and which ones are not.
10. Start networking with people you already know
In the beginning, you don’t need to put yourself out there in a big way. You want to run small tests and learn more. So networking should only start with people you already know like family and friends, or people you already know from your current job or previous jobs.
These are people who can give you honest feedback and help you learn more about a particular field or company. They can also introduce you to other people who might be able to help you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people are happy to help, and you never know who might be able to introduce you to your next job.
Career change tips that work across all industry
Here are career change tips that will help you transition to a new job today:
- Pick out the things you need to avoid.
- Set your boundaries.
- Figure out your core values.
- Write down all your interests.
- Define your headline transferable skills.
- Picture your ideal working environment.
- Decide what is most important.
- Write down as many options as possible.
- Do the first round of online research.
- Start networking with people you already know.
Career change is a marathon, not a sprint!
These are just a few of the many things you can do when changing careers. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. With the right attitude, you can find a rewarding career that you love.
Don’t give up too quickly, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The process might take longer than you expect, but it will be worth it in the end. You don’t need to tolerate what you have right now, things can always get better.
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Naomi is the founder of Tribe And Seek and an EMCC and CIPD accredited career and performance coach. She has coached people from a variety of backgrounds and industries, from graduates to senior executives.
Naomi was also the first in-house learning and development lead at the HR consultancy Lane4 (the leading L&D consultancy in the UK). She worked alongside Olympic athletes to support clients like Kraft Heinz and TUI to develop their senior leaders. She also designed training at the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award for both young and adult leaders.
No stranger to change, Naomi left a previous career in international development consulting behind and also fully overcame an accident that broke her neck.