Whether you are stuck in a job that you have lost passion for or you are just ready for a fresh start and a new challenge, changing career paths should be a thoughtful and considered process.
It starts with understanding your personal needs, then researching your options and, finally, creating an action plan for how to make it happen.
Here are some tips if you’re thinking about changing career paths:
Complete a self-review
First, you must take stock of your career journey to date and assess your experiences.
Understand what makes you happy in the workplace, and what work activities you do and don’t like. Review your skill set, interests and values, and how they may fit into a new career role.
Pivot to a complementary industry or role
Changing career paths does not always mean moving to a completely new industry. It’s worthwhile considering whether there are any overlapping industries to the one you are in now to make your transition easier.
For example, you may be a consultant who works with a variety of healthcare clients. Moving to a new position within the healthcare industry is a much easier move to make given your previous experience.
Alternatively, you can also look at common roles within different industries to allow yourself to best leverage your existing skills and experience to secure your next role.
For example, if you’re currently working as a project manager in the construction industry, looking for similar roles in a new industry means the transition will be more seamless.
Focus on your transferable skills
Transferable skills are gained through various activities both inside and outside of your formal employment.
These skills may have been developed in one environment but can be transferred to benefit another (e.g. your next role).
Some examples of transferable skills include customer service, teamwork, problem-solving, planning, communication, budgeting, flexibility in starting and completing a project, and presenting.
Even if you haven’t had any direct experience when changing career paths and applying for a new role, you can focus on the transferable skills that you possess to make the hiring manager confident that you have what it takes to be successful in the role.
Write out a list of the transferable skills you possess and refer back to these as you look for jobs in a new industry or field.
Explore the possibilities
Whether you decide to change industries completely or stick with something you are familiar with, you need to understand what potential jobs exist in the market and the different career pathways available with these roles.
Do a search of all the open job opportunities in the industry or at the specific company you are wanting to move into to get an idea of what sort of roles are available.
To get a real-life understanding of career pathways, look at the LinkedIn profile of someone who works in the position you would like to move into, and review the career pathway that led them to that role.
For more specific details, get in touch with the company’s HR team and ask how the role you are interested in fits into their company’s organisational structure and how their career progression is managed.
Determine if further education or upskilling is required
Read through the position descriptions of the jobs you want to apply for and match these against your existing qualifications, experiences and skill set.
Are there any gaps in your current experience or skill set that may hold you back? Do you need any further formal qualifications to qualify for these positions?
List all of the further education and upskilling that you require to give yourself the best opportunity to successfully make a transition.
Create a plan
It’s time to bring your career change research together and create an action plan. Once you have a specific role or industry in mind, the next step is to map out how you will make the transition happen.
Write a list of all the tasks required to make this career change, including any upskilling and further education activities, updating your resume, attending industry events, networking, meeting informally with hiring managers and recruiters, preparing job applications and landing your career-changing role.
Map these activities out into a timeline and set clear milestones to achieve them.
Don’t forget your finances
Lastly, consider whether this career change will impact your finances. Are you looking at a big pay rise or a pay cut?
If you are anticipating a big pay cut, build up an emergency fund with three to six months of your essential living expenses so you can feel confident that your career change won’t impact your day-to- day livelihood.
Don’t forget to also review your budget and re-establish how you will manage your expenses on your new salary.
If you are expecting a pay increase with this career change, review your budget and re-allocate your income so you aren’t going to be impacted by lifestyle creep.
While you deserve to treat yourself for making the big move, don’t let the pay increase get you into a worse financial position.
This is an edited extract from Smart Moves: Simple Ways to Take Control of Your Life (Wiley) by Téa Angelos. Purchase a copy of the book here.