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How To Successfully Change Career With These 7 Steps

Change The Path Your Career Takes

Leigh Gillatt  •  Careers Advice

How To Successfully Change Career With These 7 Steps


As a result of the coronavirus crisis, millions of people globally have lost their jobs, with a predicted worse case scenario, published by the Office of Budget Responsibility, estimating there will be 4 million people out of work in the UK by 2021 . Additionally, competition for open vacancies is at an all time high, yet we question, could this genuinely be a good time to consider a career switch?

Well, for those exact reasons, the answer could actually be Yes! If you’ve been watching the changes within the job market over the last few months, you’ll have figured out that:

  • Job security is a myth - (it always has been, but it’s much more obvious now)
  • The employment market is extremely dynamic with in-demand skills and professions changing rapidly - (again, not new, but it the rate of change that had greatly increased)
  • Even the crème de la crème key members of staff aren’t immune from the negative impact of our crashing economy - (nope, not new either, but perhaps this is the first time in your own career you’re seeing that personally)

We get it, making the decision to take a leap into perhaps the unknown and make a career change can be a daunting thought. However, long gone are the days when the majority of the workforce stayed in the one stable job for decades.

In the UK, 46% of people have made a career change previously; and according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) an annual average of 9% of people changed jobs in the years 2000 - 2018.

Feeling like you’re at a point where you’d like to change career? Looking at the stats above you’re probably not alone, but how do you successfully change career?

Read on to learn our 7 steps on how others have successfully changed career.

...according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) an annual average of 9% of people changed jobs in the years 2000 – 2018

7 Steps to Successfully Change Career

1. Assess Yourself

A great place to begin thinking about changing career is with an honest self-assessment. Changing careers will undoubtedly present you with several significant challenges; you may find yourself being faced with dealing with difficult questions about your past work experience, career choices, and performance within roles. Determine whether your core values and skills are addressed through your current career.

You’ll be best served if you’ve already thought about these before a recruiter decides to question you on them. Here are a few key questions you might want to consider asking yourself:

  • What do you want from your career?
  • What sacrifices are you prepared to make to achieve it?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?

2. Consider Alternative Careers.

Brainstorm ideas for career alternatives by researching career options, and discussing your core values and skills with friends, family, and networking contacts. If you’re having difficulty coming up with ideas, consider meeting with a career counsellor for professional advice.

3. Ask For Advice

Speak with people who’ve taken the plunge and changed careers before. They might be able to guide you on some of the pitfalls you should try and avoid. It’s also worth seeking out people in the industry or role you’re interested in joining. They might be able to provide you with a plan about how to best go about achieving your goals.

4. Research Your Job Options

Start comparing job within several fields you’re interested in to help narrow down a direction you with to pursue in greater depth. You can find a wealth of information online simply by ‘Googling’ jobs that interest you.

Find out as much as you can about those jobs and reach out to any personal contacts you have within those sectors. Additionally another great source for finding contacts in specific career fields can be LinkedIn; just brush up your personal online brand and LinkedIn profile before you start reaching out to new contacts.

Not sure how to improve your Linkedin Profile for 2020? Use our guide below:

5. Set Your Goals

One of the key methods to achieve success in changing career is to set yourself a series of short, medium and long-term goals. They can be as simple as applying for five jobs or cold-calling companies you’d like to work for.

Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and then set objectives on how you will achieve those goals.

For example, rather than setting one of your goals as getting your dream job, set yourself the goal of acquiring the skills that will make you the best candidate for getting that dream role – this could take the form of having one to two ‘stepping stone’ jobs prior to your dream job in order to learn and master the skills you’ll require in the dream job you’ve set your sights on.

6. Volunteer

Volunteering can be a great way of gaining experience in a field you’ve not worked in before. If you’re unsure about the change, volunteering can also be a way of getting an idea of whether you want to go down a particular career path. For example, if you're interested in working with domestic animals, volunteer at your local rescue centre or as a veterinary nurse volunteer at a local surgery.

7. Consider A New Job In The Same Industry

Consider alternative roles within your current industry which would utilise the industry knowledge you already have e.g. If you are a store manager for a large retail chain and have grown tired of the evening and weekend hours, consider a move to recruiting within the retail industry. Or if you are a engineer who doesn't want to work ‘on the tools’ anymore, consider technical sales or project management within your field.

Changing careers can be daunting, but it can also turn out to be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
When you're ready to start applying for jobs in your new industry, make sure you have an interview winning CV ready to go, use our industry leading guide on How to write to CV.