The Challenges and Rewards of a Career Change

033844890-road-sign-new-careerHave you considered striking out in a whole new direction? Do you feel like at your current job you’re standing still and not growing in any way? Sometimes there’s a point when we start to feel that we have talents that have not been explored, or find a new interest in life that has the potential to become a full-time occupation and a more rewarding one than the job we have. Choosing to change your career requires a lot of bravery and a number of other, practical, things, but the results could be great.

Before you start looking for a relevant training course or some kind of voluntary work in the field you’ve set your eyes on, get your priorities straight. Sit down and figure out what it is you want from your new career and what are the working arrangements that you are looking for. Canadian career coach Alan Kearns advises that you ask yourself three questions before embarking on a new career: where you want to work (office, home, wherever), what is the pay that would satisfy you and what is the ideal work schedule for you. Speaking of money, you should be clear about your financial resources in advance, in order to be able to plan any necessary training or voluntary work that will bring you closer to your dream job. Then review your knowledge and skills, acquired on previous and current jobs, and identify your strong points that will be relevant to your new career. Just wishing for something is not enough to make it happen in the best possible way, so you would need to align your career dreams with your actual abilities and talents. Self-confidence is key; if you know you’re really good at something, don’t let the lack of professional experience stop you, but make sure you are realistic in your expectations. If you have decided on a career change, then you will probably be aiming for something that you’re passionate about, something that makes you get up in the morning eager to start working, but that doesn’t mean you’ll immediately land a job as a vice president.

That said, start networking with people in the field you are aiming for; renew contacts, make new ones, make yourself and your skills be known, offer free help to friends working in the field. Taking part in any relevant events such as seminars and conferences is also a good way to get a feel of the area and make new contacts. Research of the business itself is also essential: find out which companies fit your preferences best and what positions are available there, but at the same time be sure to keep an open mind — you never know if you won’t be surprised by something even better than what you were looking for.

A final word on preparing for a change of career concerns the support of your nearest and dearest. Yes, it is common sense, but you may overlook it if you’re very enthusiastic and your mind is focused on the new job. Your family and friends will prove to be invaluable support in your brave undertaking, whether with advice or simply by being there for you when you feel insecure. Discussing your professional plans with them may give you precious insight or, no less invaluable, just a different viewpoint that could provide some new thoughts or new ways to approach the change that you’re set to make.