6 Steps to a Successful Career Change

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Nov 10, 2020

Nov 10, 2020 • by Rebecca Smith

If you dread Monday morning, live for your holidays and count down the days from one to the next, then you are probably in the wrong career. In an ideal world, you would get up each morning with a spring in your step, looking forward to doing a job you love. So how did you end up in this situation? Maybe over the years the direction your company or organization has taken has strayed from what you believe in. Perhaps you've been promoted and ended up in management, where what you really enjoyed was being on the front line. Perhaps you fell into this job as a stopgap and then never moved on to what you really wanted. Now you've decided it's time to move on and find that career that you really want. Follow these steps to ensure that you've asked the right questions for a successful career change, so you don't end up leaping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.

  1. Analyze why you are looking for a change.

Drill down into what it is that you don't like about your current situation or what it is you are looking for. This will help you avoid the same pitfalls in your new career. Are you seeking more of a work-life balance or are you not getting satisfaction and value from what you are doing? Have you developed a hobby that you would like to turn into a business? For example, a doctor may be exhausted with the strain of their role. They aren't afraid of hard work, but they are looking for something with less emotional toll.

  1. Think about what you love.

What lights your fire? What are you passionate about? This could be partly to do with what drew you to your current career - looking after people or being in charge - or it could be to do with what you do in your spare time - being creative or spending time outdoors. Bruce K. Lee, a leading Wealth Advisor had this to say, “Building your new career out of the things you really love will ensure that you are heading in the right direction. Remember that a career, even a great career, doesn’t necessarily give your life meaning, at least not by itself.”

  1. Define your skills.

Think about what people compliment you for. When you are writing a CV what do you put at the top? You may be a good manager who is good at getting the best out of people and managing conflict. You may have a great rapport with people, making them smile and getting them talking. It may be that you have a skill for writing or marketing, for cooking or sewing. You'll want to build on your strengths in your new career. It's also important to think about the things you are not so good at. If you get very stressed and anxious talking in front of an audience then stand-up comedy may not be the job for you.

  1. Decide what type of job will suit you.

This is not only your personality type, but also your life situation. Do you work best as part of a team or are you happy to spend a lot of time by yourself? Do you need deadlines and somebody chasing you up or are you self-motivated and good at your own time-management? Do you need the security of a regular income or are you flexible to take a risk on irregular payments? Do you want somebody else to take responsibility for finance and taxes or are you excited about the prospect of taking this on? How much do you need to earn? Do you have a geographical location in mind or are you happy to move? 

  1. Do some research.

Find out what different jobs are out there that take into account your passions, your skills and your personality type and life-situation. A quick internet search of "career quiz" can give some ideas. Alternatively, you can type in "jobs" followed by some key words, e.g. "jobs working with people and crafts" and see what comes up. Make a list of different job options and find out more about them.

  1. Explore these options further - take a test-drive.

Before you make the leap and change your life, consider if there is a way you can try out this new career before committing to it. Is there a way that you can take a short break from your current job and job-shadow for a while?

Now that you've answered all these questions, are you ready to make the move to that new and more satisfying career, so that you get up every Monday morning with a spring in your step?