Are you ready for a career change? If so, you’re not alone. According to a London Business School study, half the UK workforce (47%) would like to move into a new career. And in the U.S. two-thirds of the women workforce think the same. But how do you turn this dream into action?
Whether your career goals have changed, your industry has been disrupted or you’re just feeling unfulfilled, here are six steps to help give your career a makeover:
“While interning at Songkick, a live music directory, I remember the team showcasing what they’d worked on that week and someone shared some analysis they’d done on the marketing funnel, from which business decisions were made,” she recalls.
1. Think about the why
The first step requires some self-reflection. Why do you want to change careers and what is it that you’re looking for from your next move? Maybe it’s a bigger challenge, better work/life balance or the ability to make more money. Be clear on what it is you do want and what you don’t want, as this will help shape where to from here.
2. Identify some alternative career options
If you know you want to change careers but are not sure what to, think about your interests, your passions and what drives you, and how this could translate into a profession. You can also seek the advice of family, friends or a career coach. Another option is to do a personality test to better understand careers you’d be best suited to – 16Personalities
is a good free option.
3. Do your research
Once you’ve pinpointed some possible careers and industries, start to do some in-depth research to help determine whether it’s the right fit for you. Do some desk research (e.g. explore the US government’s National Careers Service website, relevant industry body websites and available salary guides), read blog posts and reach out to people in the industry to share some real-world insight. It’s also a good idea to search job boards to determine how many opportunities are available and the types of businesses hiring.
4. Create a plan
Now that you’re committed to a career change, it’s time to map out how you’re going to make it happen. What skills do you need to acquire, what networks do you need to build and what people do you need to speak to? And be realistic with your plan’s timeframe – it might take a while to fully transition to a new career, but the sooner you take action the closer you’ll be.
5. Consider your transferable skills
While you might not have the desired experience on paper, you most likely have some transferable skills. This could be hard skills like budgeting, marketing and working with technology, or soft skills like customer service, written and verbal communication and organizational skills. And you might have learnt these on the job or from life experience such as being a parent. Understand how your skills could translate to a new industry and be prepared to connect the dots for an employer.
6. Bridge any skill gaps
Based on your current work experience and transferable skills, are there any gaps where you need to enhance your skill set, achieve a qualification, or brush up on some knowledge? You might fill these gaps through formal education and online learning courses, or look for some volunteering opportunities, which can help give you some on-the-job experience as well as a taste of the work first-hand. It might even be an option to develop some of the necessary skills within your current workplace.
So, if you’re dreaming about a career change, it might be time to do something about it. And remember it’s never too late to make a change.