“Changing jobs in this season is a scary concept for some, but for others, the solution to achieving job and therefore life happiness is to go one step further and change careers altogether.”
Are you considering changing your profession? Careers expert, Mildred Talabi, shares how you can make that transition to your dream job
Psychologists have proven time and time again that what we choose to do in our work has a major impact on the quality of life we live, yet millions of workers worldwide find themselves stuck in jobs they hate, or at best, tolerate.
There are all sorts of reasons why this happens: fear, financial insecurity, lack of new skills, lack of knowledge about what else to do… The list goes on. Recent figures report that this ‘staying put’ syndrome has got even worse since the recession began, with more and more people choosing not to make the leap into what is perceived as an unstable job market.
Changing jobs in this season is a scary concept for some, but for others, the solution to achieving job and therefore life happiness is to go one step further and change careers altogether. If you find yourself in the place right now, where you simply can’t stay put any longer, or have no choice to as a result of a redundancy, there are three things you may need to consider before making the shift to a new career:
1) Where do you want to go?
2) What skills and knowledge are you taking with you?
3) When can you make this shift, realistically?
Where do you want to go?
In order to successfully change your career, it’s important to first determine where you want to go. Consider what you really like doing. What drives you, and keeps you motivated at work, in your personal life and in your social life? These may hold clues to your real passions.
You may also want to consider the type of environment and work culture you perform best in (for example, if you thrive under pressure a fast-paced busy deadline-driven environment would be ideal for you); your personal and moral values, and your desired financial compensation. Spend some time researching the types of careers you think you would like, based on this information (online is a good place to start), and draw up a shortlist of 5-10 possibilities.
Your skills and knowledge
The next step is to evaluate the skills, knowledge and experience you currently possess, and see how it lines up with where you want to go. The good news is that many skills (such as communication, leadership and planning) are transferable from one sector to another, so you may already possess the majority of what you need for your new career.
Find job adverts for the career you want to change to, and study the personal requirements, checking them off against the skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications you currently possess. If you find there is a gap between where you are and where you want to go, take the necessary steps to close that gap. This could be by volunteering or working part-time in your new field, taking a short course or retraining completely.
When can you make the shift?
Changing careers is not an overnight process, so be prepared to take small steps towards your new destination. Draw up a career action plan for yourself, outlining the practical steps you need to take to move your career forward. This can include actions such as re-doing your CV; practising interview skills; enrolling on a course; finding a place to volunteer, and so on. Also consider the financial and time implications; be realistic and flexible in your estimates, and be prepared for setbacks, which are a natural part of life.
Summing it all up on your CV
The final step is to create a CV that will make the crossover process possible. Your new CV needs to be future-focused, so really take the time to highlight your transferable skills from your current career, as well as relevant tasks, achievements and results in your work history that are transferable to your new path. Include any relevant activities or voluntary work that support your new career ambitions, including any roles you may hold at your local church, for example.
Once you’ve applied the above steps, you’ll now be one step closer to your new career and, consequently, a happier life.
Mildred Talabi is a careers speaker, writer and blogger, and the founder of CV Makeover Expert.
For help in creating your career-changing CV, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.cvmakeoverexpert.com.