How to Approach a Career Change

It’s not rare to change your career during your working life. While some people may find that they enter a career path and work there continuously, it’s not the same for everyone.

You may find that you’re looking for more from your work, you may develop a new passion or you may simply want to earn more in a new field.

A career change can help you feel empowered, help you reassess your work life balance or even make use of unused skills and experience that you’ve built over time.

In this article, we explore how to change career, why you might explore career options and provide general career change advice.

Why Do People Choose a Career Change?

There are a number of reasons why someone may want to consider changing their career and it’s not uncommon for people to feel several of these at once.

Since the global pandemic changed the way we view work, job satisfaction has been pulled into focus and is more important than ever. Experts suggest that nearly 22% of UK workers have realised their current job role isn’t what they want and over the last two decades, the number of ‘career changers’ has stayed at around 9%, highlighting that it’s an ongoing consideration for UK employees.

So what causes people to consider changing careers and start applying? The most common reasons for people changing careers include:

· Stressful work environments

· Better career opportunities

· Higher salaries

· Remote working flexibility

· Lower hours

If you’re currently considering a career change for any of the reasons above, the following article can help you.

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How to Change Career

While changing career can be a scary time, there are steps you can take to ensure you feel prepared and ready for whatever comes next. 

Consider your current career path

Before you start applying for new jobs and rushing off to interviews, it’s a good idea to pull together a ‘personal inventory’ of your career to date. This might include the feelings you have about your career, your current job satisfaction and what your goals are. Ask yourself the following questions and note down your responses: 

· What do I like and dislike about my current role?

· What industry would I love to work in?

· What do I want from my career?

· Do I know anyone in my personal or professional network that has changed career?

· Do I need to learn new skills and is this additional education accessible?

Once you have this information, explore the skills and qualifications you have already and write them down. Do you have a personal brand you’d like to build or expand? Do you have a hobby that you want to turn into a new role? What do you do already that could be used in another career path? All of these answers can help you determine what you have to offer and how that could be useful elsewhere.

Finally, think about the times at work where you felt most fulfilled and satisfied. What were you doing in these situations and what was it about the situation that elicited these positive reactions?

Consider Different Industries

If you’re considering how to change career, you’ll likely ask yourself, ‘should I change industry?’ While this is a difficult question to answer, it’s a vital consideration and one that particularly impacts the energy industry as the sector shifts.

It’s common for people to change career but still remain in the same rough field as the skills and network they’ve built are still largely applicable. Consider someone moving from journalism to marketing or something similar. 

The thing is, shifting industry doesn’t necessarily need to be a huge challenge, especially if you’ve built hard skills that are relevant in multiple fields.

Consider this: If you’re an engineer that’s built a career in traditional oil and gas energy but you want to move to renewable energy, you may still have the foundational skill set you need to succeed. Likewise, the transferable skills you’ve built – organisation, verbal communication, managerial skills etc – are still applicable.

The same applies to more radical industry changes. You may have a background in customer services and handling complaints for a retail business. This skill you have around handling objections would also be extremely useful in a sales role, where you need to understand customers’ pain points and be empathetic.

Identify Different Careers

Once you’ve married up your ideal industry with your personal inventory, you can start etching out a new potential career path. While it’s unlikely you’ll know all of the specific roles or positions in a career, as long as you understand your own skills you can narrow down the ideal role.

You might also work with a career counsellor, attend informational interviews, perform job shadowing or even speak with a recruitment consultant. Our recruitment consultancy services are ideal in this situation and can help you discover potential career paths that match your work history.

Develop Your Career Action Plan

Once you’ve identified a new potential role or career change, you need to know how to get there. This could be as simple as working with a recruitment consultant and arranging interviews or you may need to start building out new skills and experience.

One way of achieving this is by attending courses in your chosen career path, as it gives you a taste of what to expect before you commit to a job role. Within your action plan, set yourself goals such as earning certifications or passing courses that give you these skills.

Review Your Application Essentials

Before you start applying for roles in a completely new career, you may want to ‘rebrand’. The CV for an engineer is very different to one from an accountant, for example. You need to address your decision to change career and highlight any of the useful transferable skills and experience you’ve built over the years.

Where you can, demonstrate how your previous work and skill set could contribute to your new role. Use examples of previous experiences for context and combine these to create an engaging application.

Speak with Your Professional Network

The people you meet through work can help you break into a new career or specific industry. Always remember that your contacts on LinkedIn or people you met at events can lead to tangible opportunities. Speak regularly with people in desirable industries and seek out internships or volunteer positions if you feel it might improve your chances of switching career.

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