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By 30, you’ve got your professional life in check; your financial plan is firmly in place and your dream career is steadily on track. Right? Well, not necessarily. In fact, for many working professionals, this is around the time when, in experiencing a number of varying positions and roles, they find themselves wanting something completely different to their current profession.
However, figuring out what it is you want is one thing; actually taking the steps to make the move is another. This is especially daunting when the move means straying from an established career path to take on a totally new professional direction.
What is it you want to change?
Before making any major decisions, it is important that you think long and hard about what it is you want to change in your career and why. If you are still in the same job that you started out in when you first entered the working world, it is worth considering whether the change you are seeking is perhaps a transition within your current career, rather than the pursuit of a new career altogether.
Perhaps you’ve just never enjoyed the type of work you do, or maybe you’ve grown out of the type of work you once enjoyed. It happens: what challenged and excited you at 18 or 25 may not do so today.
If you are still unsure whether the time is right, here are a few simple questions to consider:
Are you only in it for the monthly paycheque?
While hard work should always be rewarded, this should not be your only motivation. If it is, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look for something that offers you more than just a way to keep financially afloat.
Are you constantly feeling demotivated and fatigued?
If you wake up every morning feeling like you’ve already run out of gas, before the work day has even begun, a career change may be just what you need to re-ignite your professional spark.
Are you under-performing?
People tend to do better at things they enjoy. If you constantly find yourself missing benchmarks, it may be because you are in the wrong line of work.
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, it is quite likely that the time to embark on a career change is now. Here are three simple steps you can follow:
1. Do your homework
If you’re going to make a career change, you need to be certain about what it is you want. Psychologist, Michael Woodward, cautions that “diving in head-first without looking is likely what landed you in the situation you are currently in”. Once you have investigated your options and learnt more about what they entail, you will be able to make informed decisions.
2. Update your skill set
Once you are certain of the new direction you want to take, start researching and learning all about your new field before beginning to look for opportunities. Taking part-time or online courses is a great way to get to grips with a new field, without having to forgo the steady income from your current job.
3. Leverage your experience
Rather than seeing it as a barrier, use your experience to your advantage as you begin to make the big move. You may not have direct experience in your new career, but perhaps some of the skills you’ve learned in your past jobs are transferable. Be sure to take note of these transferable skills when talking to prospective employers or investors, as experience is one thing that cannot be bought or learned.
A huge asset that comes with experience is professional connections. Take stock of past dealings with anyone who may be linked to your desired field, and make a conscious effort to network further by attending meetings of relevant groups and institutions.
At a cross-roads in your career is an exciting time, but make sure you are prepared for the road ahead with an up-to-date and savvy skill set. Browse our portfolio of short courses now.
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