Four ways to make a career change

Are you sick of dragging yourself out of bed every Monday to face another week in a job you no longer love or, worse still, never did enjoy?

Maybe it’s time for a career change. According to social researchers McCrindle the days of a job for life are long gone. Those just starting their working life can expect to have 17 jobs and five careers by the time they retire.

So what do you do if you know you want a career change but don’t quite know how to do it? Consider the four tips below.

 1. Use your existing skills

Take stock of your current skills and consider what you’re good at and what you like doing.

Are there certain tasks or activities in your current job that you always put to the top of your to-do list while there are others that you put off doing? Paying attention to what you enjoy about your job could give you a clue to the type of job to which you would be more suited.

For example, you may be very organised and good with numbers however those skills are only a small part of your current job. Maybe a finance-related role would be more suited to your strengths and one you would enjoy?

Once you’ve established the type of job you would like, the next step is to find out how you make the transition using your current skills and experience.

2.  Turn a hobby into a career

If you can’t find anything you like doing in your current role, consider what you enjoy doing outside of work.

Are you a gym junkie who can’t wait to finish work so you can challenge yourself to a tough workout? Or maybe travel is your passion and every dollar saved goes towards your next adventure.

If you have a hobby or interest that really excites you, look at possible career options related to that area of interest.

Do your research to discover the variety of options available. Log into a job board such as Seek and use some key words to discover potential career opportunities.

This not only helps to uncover career options, it also will indicate how in demand those jobs are, how much they pay and what skills and qualifications you will need.

3.  Go out on your own

You may realise that the job you currently do is a good fit for you, however you no longer want to work for someone else.

This career change option may simply mean a different way of working. Instead of working for someone else, you decide to become your own boss.

The advantage is that you are responsible for your own success. That can also be a downside as a regular pay check is no longer guaranteed. While the risks can be high, so can the rewards.

Before you branch out on your own, make sure you understand the market and the viability of the type of business you’re hoping to establish.

If you don’t have any business skills, you will need to learn the fundamentals of running a business.

You may want to test the waters by keeping your current job and working on the business as a sideline option until you start earning a steady income.

If you want to dedicate all your time to the new business make sure you have a financial buffer as most new businesses take some time to establish before making a profit.

4. Create a portfolio career

A portfolio career gives you variety, lets you use your various skills and provides multiple income streams. If you’re someone who likes to mix things up a bit, this could be an option for you.

So what does a portfolio career look like?

An example is someone who runs her own events-planning business, works a couple of days a week at a florists and teaches evening meditation classes at her local wellness centre.

Her portfolio career allows her to bring together her various skills of organisation, creativity, people management with her love of flowers, parties and meditation.

The advantage of a portfolio career is that it will keep things interesting and if one area of your career slows down, the other jobs can keep your income flowing.  Conversely, if one part of your career starts booming you can cut back in another area.

How to take the next step

Once you’ve worked out what you would like to do and how you would like to work, what next? You need to find out how to bridge the gap between what you currently do and your new career.

Research is the key. If you need extra qualifications look at the various study options available. If you are currently working and need to keep earning while you’re learning, consider study options that are flexible enough to fit into your lifestyle.

It’s also important to consider the costs of changing careers. This not only applies to the cost of studying but also the potential to earn less if you’re starting out in a new career. On the flip side, investing in new qualifications and changing careers may prove very lucrative, particularly if your career has greater earning potential in the future.

Gaining the relevant qualifications is important but often you’ll also need experience in your new career. Some training organisations offer professional placements as part of the course, providing you with essential experience.

Other options include seeing if there are opportunities within your current organisation. For example, if you are working in an administrative role but would like to move into human resources, can you provide support to your in-house HR team?

There are many ways to transition from a ho-hum job to the career of your dreams. The key is to know what you want, how to go about making the change and then to back yourself.

Remember, work takes up a lot of time in your life so it’s important that you enjoy doing what you do.

Think about how rewarding it would be to jump out of bed on a Monday morning full of anticipation for the week ahead, rather than half-heartedly showing up for work each day?

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