Lost your job? Thinking of a career change? Here’s how to make the transition.

Changing jobs generally involves using the same skills but acclimatising to a new work environment, culture and people. A career change on the other hand generally requires the use of different skills applied in a completely different profession.

Career changes can result from a variety of reasons: –

  • The absence of future opportunity within the current place of employment or industry;
  • Out of necessity as a result of work place changes such as restructures, mergers and takeovers, resulting in job loss or redundancy;
  • Diminishing fulfilment in a current job leading to the quest for new challenges with the intention of reinvigoration. A so-called mid-career crisis is often within this category.  

Career changes are generally harder to achieve than just changing jobs. The need to acquire a different set of skills means that a long-term plan will make a career transition a whole lot easier than attempting to achieve it over a short time period.

Many who are planning a career change or those who are forced into one, initially have little idea of what their new career may look like. Below are some tips for those who choose to, or are forced to go through this process:-  

  • Undergo self-analysis to not only determine what you like doing but what you don’t like doing;
  • Consider if you have passions, interests or strengths that you may be able to incorporate into a future career;
  • Use your personal network to discuss what skills are used and daily tasks are required in other jobs, to assist you to evaluate if they will fulfill your requirements;
  • Consider taking a career aptitude test to identify jobs which may suit your skills and interests;
  • Develop a plan to transition a future career by researching what skills are required, how to acquire such skills, over what time frame you will do and whether there are likely to be jobs once you possess such skills;
  • Be objective in evaluating your own skills set against those required for a job you are considering applying for. Not to do so will lead to constant rejection and a drop in your self-confidence;
  • Don’t underestimate those skills which are transferable to other industries e.g., sales, communication, project management, organisational, problem solving and interpersonal skills. It is easy to take for granted, valuable skills that we have developed over a long period of time;
  • In transitioning to a new career, be prepared to consider jobs at a lower seniority level, then work your way back up the organisation;
  • When applying for jobs, develop your resume to emphasise relevant transferable skills and to highlight your efforts to gain new skills, which may range from short courses to Diplomas and Degrees;
  • Use your network to enquire what jobs may be arising in your area of interest.  

It is rarely easy to transition to a new career but for those who have the determination and perseverance to do so, the rewards are many.

References:
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2021: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success. By Katharine Brooks, and Richard N. Bolles.

Who Moved My Cheese 1999 by Spencer Johnson.

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