Career Change Tips
Why are you considering a career change?
The first thing to consider, perhaps jotting it down on paper, is why do you want to move into a different career field?
Are internal issues in your current position influencing your decision? Is it boredom with your current company, role,
colleagues, tasks? Do you feel you're not being challenged enough? Are your boss, colleagues or work environment
Would changes in your current work situation, such as a promotion or transfer, be enough to change your mind? Will a
change in career result in any real change – or will you just end up in similar circumstances, but with a different title?
If you’re currently not in employment, think about these areas in relation to your career to date.
What do you want from life?
One way of helping you decide whether you’re better off to change career or stick with the devil you know, is to list what is
important to you in life.
Ask yourself about things such as family, work/life balance, where you want to live, standard of living and material
possessions. Some of these elements could be affected adversely by a career change and you may have to make the
tough decision about what is most important to you.
Know your worth
Can you list your skills and values off the top of your head? When it comes to changing career, some of the key things to
be fully aware of are your skills and abilities, what you’re passionate about, and the experience you’ve gained in previous
Think long and hard about these, without selling yourself short. Are these skills transferable in any way? Can they be used
as currency in your preferred career? Do you have the personal attributes and drive to succeed in a new career? What are
your strengths and weaknesses? Are your skills transferable?
How the past and present match up to the future will be very important in establishing whether you are suited to a different
role and sector.
Fear of change is normal
Jumping ship for unfamiliar territory can be nerve-wracking. No matter how suited to a new career you may be, or
unsuited to your current career, it’s normal to be nervous about making a big change.
If you feel too stressed about trying out a new career or taking the steps along the way that will result in a change of career,
consider if it’s worth suffering all this pressure. If you’re sure that it is, then you can choose to feel the fear and do it
Don't give in to peer pressure
Friends and family often have a lot to answer for when it comes to people’s career choices – and unsuitable career
choices at that. If you’re considering moving into a new career because that’s what your parents expect of you and it’s a
career your family have pursued for generations, give great thought to your final decision.
It’s important to pursue a career that suits your personality and abilities and that you will be happy in, as opposed to doing
the ‘done thing’.
Likewise, there can be pressure to follow in your friends’ footsteps and get into a cool, funky or well-paid sector. Before
you make the leap and follow the herd, consider how suited you would be to the demands and challenges of such a career.
Money isn't everything
It’s tempting to move into a career that offers big bucks, but these roles should come with a government health warning!
Many people in extremely well-paid roles are happy in their jobs, but there can be sacrifices in time, happiness, etc.
Positions are often well-paid because the hours are long and the workload heavy.
On the other hand, if your dream job is poorly paid you will have to consider the impact of lower wages on your future and
if you will be able to live the life you are used to on a much smaller salary. Money isn’t everything, but it matters an awful
lot at the same time.
If you’ve been working in the same career for some years, chances are you’ve moved up the ladder both promotion-wise
and salary-wise at a nice steady pace. Changing career completely often affects your salary and status.
You may have to start at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder and work your way up slowly to get to the position you
dream about. You need the flexibility in your life to accommodate such a career change, as a climb to the top will not only
affect your finances but also could entail different working hours to those you’re used to.
Assess the work environment
A change in career could well involve a drastically different work environment for you. Although you may think you really
want to work in a certain job, have you considered the work environment?
Examine what the work environment will be like – will it require much travel, working in isolation, working with lots more
people than you’re used to? Will it be outdoors or involve different colleagues every day?
If you’re thinking of going solo, look at the effects of working from home or on your own.
Don’t forget the age factor
Ageism may be illegal, but it can’t be discounted. It’s never too late to change, but take into consideration the time it may
take – in training/ education and moving up the career ladder – to be in the career you want.
Try work experience
Career changes tend to involve the acquisition of new skills. If the area you wish to move to requires a drastic change, you
may need to undergo training and even third-level education.
Before you decide to shell out your life savings on college fees and support yourself through a full-time college course that
leaves no time for a part-time job, try to get relevant work experience.
A few weeks’ or months’ work experience in the line of work you think you’d like to move into will give you a fair idea if
you would be interested in actually working in that area.
If you find it’s for you, the work experience will be of benefit on your CV when you eventually apply for jobs in that area.
Changes don't happen overnight
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for changing career. It’s not going to happen immediately just because your
mind is set on it. Expect it to take at least six months – and longer if you have to undergo specialised training or enrol on a
relevant college course.
Changing career can be a long and rocky road. There may be ups and downs and dead ends along the way. Everybody
needs a little help from their friends and you will need to have a support circle around you.
When you need it, get the support of friends and family as well as that of relevant membership organisations.
Choose a suitable recruitment agency
Since many companies source staff through recruitment agencies, it’s important to register with a recruitment agency that
recruits for the industry and types of roles you’re interested in.
If you feel the recruitment agency you’re dealing with isn’t putting you forward for jobs that your skills, personal attributes,
experience and education match, register with an agency that will.
Your future career may well lie in the hands of a recruitment consultant so it’s important to find a recruitment consultancy
that matches your needs and values your talent.