Having a realistic and actionable plan is an important part of any type of change you want to make, especially when it comes to something as serious as your career. While moving between jobs is typically a fairly smooth transition, making a complete change of career can take time, effort and gumption. Below are some tips for how to action your career change.
1. Get Advice
Professional advice is really important. If you need to study, a careers counsellor at your local college or university is a great place to start. It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to wait until you’re job hunting to touch base with recruitment agencies. A reputable human resources and recruitment agency may be able to help you start gaining the valuable experience now, as well as provide assistance in placing you in your dream job down the track.
2. Set Appropriate Goals
You need to have a clear idea of where you want to be in three, five and ten years’ time to be able to plan out the steps you need to take to get there. Remember that your goals should be S.M.A.R.T – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Think about the type of jobs you want to be doing within a broader field, and who you want to be working for. If you have some flexibility in your current employment or free time, doing some volunteer work or professional placement can be a great way to test the waters.
3. Start Training
Even if you need to study by correspondence, plugging away at one subject a time, it’s a start towards getting you where you need to be. Most career changes will need you to undergo informal or formal training and education and there is nearly never a perfect set of circumstances to become a student again. Some employment contracts even include a study leave option and flexible delivery means almost any family circumstances can be worked around.
4. Start Working On Your Professional Brand
While some of your skills will no doubt be transferable to other industries and professions, you need to make sure that you start differentiating yourself from your old professional life sooner rather than later to show potential future employers that you are serious about your new path. Consider getting professional help to write your new resume and LinkedIn profile and make sure that what you are saying to people matches your future aspirations.
5. Don’t Underestimate the Power of Relationships
Networking and relationship building are crucial to professional success. Don’t discount the people you already know just because your goals are changing; make sure you stay in contact with them in a meaningful and mutually beneficial way. Likewise, start building rapport with people you admire in your new industry. Complimenting someone is a great way to break the ice and once you have a connection, you can start tapping into their time and resources.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a new career?