Making a Successful Career Change
Career change is one of the most important steps you will ever take, but one that is becoming increasingly necessary. So many people have lost their pensions or seen them drastically reduced that retirement is no longer an option. To many, the future may look a little bleak, especially if you are out of work or in danger of losing your job. So if you have to change careers, what can you do to make sure the shift to a new line of work is a success?
Nothing in life is certain and jobs are certainly not for life any more, but that need not be a disaster. In fact, it can be a very good thing. By understanding what you really enjoy doing, developing your transferable skills and being open to new opportunities and different work patterns, you will increase the chances of making your move to a new career a successful one.
To get you started, take out a pen and paper and write a description of where you are right now in terms of career, education and skills. This will help you to recognize your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the activities you prefer doing. Also make a note of any new skills and additional knowledge that you would like to gain. Create a picture of yourself and your package of skills and take a look at where you could fit into the current job market.
To begin this exercise, take a look at your skills:
Assessing Your Skills
Make a list of your all of your skills, first:
Job Specific Skills
These skills are directly related to your career or job, for example, if you are a nurse, ,they are practical nursing skills. Depending on your experience, you may have several lists, covering general nurisng skills, and skills gained in one or more area in which you have specialized.
You will also have Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are skills you have picked up over the years, both at work and in other areas, such as studying, sport, hobbies, looking after a family or a pet – in fact just about any area of your life. Many of these skills come in useful in the workplace. Some examples – if you have been a student you’ll have had to meet deadlines, write reports and do research.
You almost definitely have some computer skills, whether you have taken formal courses in computing or just learned at school, at home or on the job. Today computers are used in almost all types of work.This means your computer skills are needed. If your skills on the computer are pretty basic, it is well worth the effort to work on them by getting existing skills to a higher level or learning a few new ones.
Developing New Skills
The willingness to learn new skills is crucially important these days. This is because change is happening at a much faster rate than ever before. This is particularly true of technology – your grandparents or great grandparents would have been astounded at the thought of mobile phones or the internet. And just a few years ago, the idea of accessing the internet via a phone seemed unlikely to catch on.
If you want to make sure you are up to date, you need to be learning constantly, whatever career you are thinking of taking up. So it is really important to make a list of all the skills you would like to learn and think you would be good at.
Since international business can now be carried out over the internet in minutes, new opportunities are opening up for careers both in employment and self employment. Learning a language such as Spanish or Chinese or developing internet marketing skills will boost your employability and give you more scope for setting up a business of your own.
Look at Current Trends and Problems
Think about the problems which are facing people in the 21st century and ask if you already have or could learn any skills to help them overcome these particular challenges. For example, because of the current economy, many people can’t find work – do you have the skills and experience to help them set up their own businesses, learn new skills which are in demand or help them find a job?
Another significant trend is that people are living much longer – could you work in an industry which helps them to stay fit and healthy and make good use of their retirement years?
Find a New Career You Enjoy
Don’t restrict your search for a new career to areas where you can see a demand and then retraining so that you can fill that demand. While demand is without doubt an important factor, you really need to find something you enjoy doing.