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How to Successfully Navigate a Career Change

Getting Ready for a Career Change? Terrified? Don’t Be

Deciding on a career change – or having one thrust upon you for various reasons – can be both terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure. A ton of emotions will be rushing through you – the liberating thrill of a fresh start, the culmination of years of studying a new skill, the fear of suddenly having a role replaced by technology, etc.

If it is you who has made the decision to transform your profession, you need to be making sure that your career change is for the right reasons. Do you have family support? Are you in a position to be able ‘follow your dream’ without the real possibility of putting your family in financial hardship? If you are satisfied that the reasons are sound and your skills are robust enough for the change, you may need to consider what steps you are prepared to take to achieve your goal. For example, could you gain some transitional experience by volunteering in the role or a lower-level role to that which you are targeting? Can you afford to do so? If not, plan ahead to give yourself that financial buffer to explore this possibility.

Career Change

Things to do Ask Yourself Before You Embark on a Career Change

Where do you want to be in five years or ten years from now? Making a realistic career plan will guide you as you enter a new phase of your professional life. Look forward five to ten years. Ask yourself where you want to be by then, and if the next step makes sense. Any career decision should be carefully considered, especially one with the potential to be as life-changing as shifting industries. Are you just starting out? Mid-career? Approaching retirement? Married or single? Your career does not operate in isolation to the rest of your life, and your professional decisions can have a huge impact on your work-life balance and standard of living. Be sure to consider how your new career path will affect your relationships, finances and daily life. For example, are you willing to relocate for a career opportunity? Are you willing to sacrifice financial benefits for professional satisfaction? Only you can make a call on those areas, so make sure you ask yourself the tough questions.

Is it really a new career you are after or would the same role in a new company be enough to renew the spark you originally felt for your chosen path? It is worth noting that people are not staying in their roles as long anymore. Here at Select Resumes, we are seeing a lot of people hit the three-year mark and then starting to look for something new. Do not mistake restlessness in your current role for dissatisfaction with your chosen career.

Sometimes a fresh perspective can do wonders for your satisfaction at work. Working with a professional recruitment consultant or a career coach will help you to get a clearer picture of how your skills and experience can apply to alternative career paths and expose you to job types you may not have considered.

How to Successfully Navigate a Career Change

You Have Made the Decision – So Now What?

So, you have gone through the decision-making process, and you are happy that the conclusion you’ve made is the right one. Firstly, you have to work through any nagging doubts and worries about what the future may hold. Uncertainty is part of life and a necessary part of your growth. It is time to get comfortable with it and to surrender the need to control everything, to have all the answers beforehand, to cover every eventuality and plug every loophole. The need for certainty stems from the need to protect yourself and your loved ones and is rooted in fear, which is fine if there is something that needs protecting, but a hindrance when what you need most to grow as an individual is to trust and have faith that you can handle whatever comes up.

Expect some criticism for your decision and some naysayers and be prepared to listen and not be defensive. Also, some people mean well but express themselves poorly, unintentionally triggering a negative response in you. Some people will be genuinely puzzled by your decision. Some may even be envious that you had the courage to do what they did not dare. The best response is to acknowledge their right to express their comments, but not to let them determine how you feel about yourself and your choices. They do not need to understand you or ‘get’ you, and you do not need their permission to live your life in a way that is right for you. You have come much further than they could ever know, and you have so much potential in you and so much still to offer the world. But, some people may have opinions that may have escaped you. Be prepared to listen and take on board what they are saying and factor that into your decision-making process as you move forward into your career change.

How to Successfully Navigate a Career Change

Summary

Your career change will not be an overnight success; however well you have planned it. It is a transitional process that you will ease into in stages, either via study or moving up your new career ladder. So, do not expect 100% success straightaway. It is estimated that we will have five to seven careers in our lifetime. If your new career turns out to be a bad fit, you always have the option of moving on. After all, you have proved you can do it, and you can do it again. And if you have planned your career change logically and unemotionally, you will be better equipped than most people who are about to embark on a similar journey.

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