Changing careers is a scary thing, but if you are desperate to leave your current job and itching to try something new – a change of career can be just what you need! The world of work is an ever evolving thing and more people than ever are switching careers three or maybe four times or more in their lifetime.
In fact, according to a Harris survey for the University of Phoenix in Arizona, nearly 80 percent of workers in their 20s said they wanted to change careers, followed by 64 percent of 30-something’s and 54 percent in their 40s. (source)
Here we take a look at some reasons for wanting a career change and what you should consider before making a move. Quite often the desire to change direction is so strong that it outweighs all the negatives. Sometimes all you need is a positive attitude to make that change regardless of how under-qualified or inexperienced you are in your desired role.
Do you really want to leave?
There is a big difference between wanting a change of career because you want to learn something new or need to be challenged and using a career change as an excuse to escape an unhappy workplace. Do you really want to change direction completely just because you may not like your boss, the people you work with or the company?
Using a career change as an escape route may seem like the easy way out, but it could actually be much easier to try and fix your current situation first. If you have issues with your boss or work colleagues, then you should talk to your HR department who are there to help you deal with situations such as this. Try to do a repair job before you burn your bridges. If you find that nothing has changed in six months time, then you can say that you tried your best. Your decision to change direction could be better justified then.
What about money?
You should always consider your finances before jumping ship. If you have become used to a certain wage and are comfortable earning the level of salary you currently get, then it could be a big shock to the system to take a considerable pay cut. Changing careers may often result in having to accept a lower salary, especially if you are entering a new field with very little experience under your belt.
If you are happy to start again from the bottom, try to be financially prepared for the change. You may look at trimming your expenses and outgoings, or giving yourself a year to save as much money as possible to tide you over during your transition. You could even look for ways to boost your income, such as a weekend job or a sideline you can run from home in the evenings.
Talk your way into a better salary
You may be coming at your new career a little older and wiser than some of the other recruits. You should take a little time to evaluate what positive attributes you can offer in your new role. Your new employer may appreciate that you bring with you transferable skills and experience that others don’t have. This can be an asset that you can use to negotiate a higher wage, especially if they are looking for more mature candidates to manage a team of younger workers.
How well you communicate your skill-set to your new employer will be the key to you standing out from the rest. No matter what your previous background, if you can bring something valuable to your new role that others lack, then you will be earmarked for extra responsibilities or promotion that can bring you a higher salary.
What do I want to do, really?
You may be so over your current career that it bores you to tears to have to go to work every day. However, figuring out exactly what you want to do next can be a bit of a puzzle. Your dream job may be out there, but how do you know what it is? There may be a perfect job for you where you can utilise your skills, but would you really enjoy doing it?
Obviously, there is more to a role than its job title. When you spot an opportunity that looks appealing to you, make sure you check out all the factors. Read the role description. What may appear perfect on the surface may not be quite what you thought when you dig a little deeper.
Evaluate everything. You may find that your skill-set perfectly matches the job specifications and the company looks very attractive. But what about that 2-hour commute every day? Isn’t your long commute one of the most frustrating things about your current job? The new role mentions that you will be working on your own – but you are more comfortable being a team player. Would you really be happy stuck in a tiny office all by yourself? Maybe this job isn’t as perfect as you thought.
Changing career doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and jump into something else immediately. It takes time to decide what you actually want to do with your life, analyse each opportunity open to you, figure out what transferable skills you can take with you to your new career and planning for your change in finances.