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3 questions to ask when changing your career

3 questions to ask when changing your career

'Change is as good as a holiday', or so the saying goes. Changing your career isn't as easy as celebrities make it look—switching from making music to developing a perfume at the drop of a hat—it's a rather more involved process and there are a number of considerations you need to make.

Career-changers fall into two distinct categories: there are those who want to quit their job and pursue a dream, and there are those who have been pushed, through redundancy or similar factors, to choose another career. How you approach a new career may depend on into which category you fall.

Push or pull?
Push factors, including redundancy and job dissatisfaction, can leave you a little lost because the primary emotion attached to this situation is a negative one, that you've had no choice in the matter and you're not ready for the change. You may also need to deal with pressure due to having less time to decide what you want to do before you need to re-enter the workforce to pay the bills.

The first step is difficult, it requires that you own the change. If it helps, try to think of the things you would have liked to change in your former role and turn them into things you want in your new career: do you want to work with more people or less? Do you want flexibility? Do you want more responsibility or less? The second part is figuring out how much time you have to change. It may be the length of your redundancy payout, or perhaps longer if you are looking to leave a job you don't like.

Pull factors make it easier to envision a career path because it targets your dream job or lifestyle, which many people hold for some time before deciding to act. This gives you a picture of the skills you need to reach your goal.

Although pull career-changers may not have the urgency of push career-changers, it is a good idea to set a timeframe to ensure you remain on-track with your career objectives. There is obviously a reason you've realised 'now is the time!'—keep that front of mind as you transition.

Are you right for the new career?
Do your research into the new career path. It sounds simple, but many people forget that a change needs to be handled properly to ensure you are ready for the new role. Look at aspects such as qualifications and experience required, salary, and the workplace environment you will be going into so you have realistic expectations. You may like to talk to people who are working in your desired career to find out some of the less obvious points of pain or joy.

Draw up a list of attributes required for the new career, including qualifications and personality traits. Conduct a personal audit of your achievements, abilities and traits and match as many as you can to the list. This will tell you if you are suited to the new career and will also show you areas that need more work. It is also a good guide to have if you need to explain to employers how your previous role/s have contributed to the one you want.

If you can, consider volunteering or doing some work experience in the area you'd like to move into. This will give you a flavour of what you're in for so you can find out whether you like it (or not) without too much investment.

Do you need to re-skill?
Be aware that you may have to start your new career at entry level. Although your previous achievements and experience may fast-track you through the ranks, it is likely that you will need to re-skill and gain some on-the-job traction before you can move up.

Find out what kind of training you need, and whether this requires attaining a formal qualification or certification, or simply doing a course to boost your knowledge and test your skills. It may benefit you to seek a career consultation to identify what you need and/or what's desirable.

If you are interested in vocational education to help you into your new career, call CoursesNow on 1300 192 927 for a free career consultation. (If you want to train as an astronaut, however, we don't have anyone to help you at this time.)


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