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How to Change Careers And Do What You Love

by Alina Berdichevsky
Posted: January 25, 2016

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According to recent career statistics, over 60% of workers are not truly engaged in what they do and would choose a different career path if they could start again.

So it’s no wonder we’re swapping our careers up to seven times in our modern lifetime.

Studies show that given the chance, 25% of adults would choose a new job above anything else! Reasons such as disillusionment, not being able to use your best abilities, being trapped in a declining industry, a dislike of a companies organisational culture and a realignment of personal values, are all reasons people want to jump ship. When the latter happens, its more than just a job change people crave it’s trying their hand in a completely different industry.

Changing your career can be a daunting task especially when you’ve spent most of your adult life mastering one main skillset. However, with the right approach, it doesn't have to be difficult or scary.

Here’s the Open Colleges guide to gaining the resources and the courage you need for a smooth career transition.

Do a personal skills inventory

By now, you probably know what you want to do, based on some pretty obvious skills that you’re just not flexing (or being appreciated for) in your current job. However if you don't quite know what your career change will be yet, then ask your friends and associates for feedback as to what they think your new path should be. What do they see your adding value or excelling at? Also, do a personality test such as Myer-Briggs and notice what strengths you’re continuously being acknowledged for - now is the time to explore these as a viable career option.

Research potential career paths

Say you discovered that you’re an excellent event planner but even within this one skill set, there could still be various career paths! Even in the events space, would you like to work in corporate or not-for-profit? Do you want to organise big scale events, or happy to be an executive assistant for an organisation? The best thing to find this out is start looking at various job ads and read their descriptions. Find profiles on LinkedIn who share a similar career path and note what study they did to get to where they are. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out and invite people for a coffee and a chat that’s what LinkedIn is for.

Up-skill and study

Even if you lack direct industry expertise, the skills gap can usually be bridged with focused study, says Managing Director at Northbridge Recruitment Kariem Sobh. “Look at what the entry level position is for your chosen industry that you are able to do initially and where you want to land,” he says. “From there, you will ascertain what study and experience you need to self-train or study so you can as quickly as possible to get the job you want.” Sobh also suggests training for an exact skills match so you have the most relevant qualifications and putting time aside for work experience. “Work experience can land you jobs in some pretty cushy industries,” he says. “Outside of doing what you need to do to earn living, ensure that you work on your studies and volunteer anywhere you can to get those needed skills.”

Be financially prepared

The truth is a career change can leave you in between jobs, so it's important you have an income to sustain your transition. Furthermore, it’s important to note that your entry level position on your new role will be at a lower level of income that your previous career, where you were likely at a much higher level. “It’s one of the tougher elements of career transition because a lot of people expect to be remunerated at the same level as before,” concedes Sobh. “It’s a personal challenge to readjust that expectation.” Him and other experts recommend adjusting your lifestyle and needs accordingly, at least in the short to medium term as a trade off and having at least 6 months of your previous salary saved before you commence on your path.

Get an industry mentor

Sobh also encourages those contemplating a career change to find a mentor or someone who already works in your desired industry to share insights of how they got there, biggest pitfalls, daily weekly and monthly challenges - and what someone would be doing to be seen as a super star. in their first year of employment. “If people had more info of what they should do day to day not just broader long term, they would excel in their newly chosen industry.

As you can see, a career change is entirely possible and even common in today’s dynamic workplace. With the aides of work experience, mentorship, additional study and a proactive approach, you can be on your path to a more rewarding job within 12 months.


Alina Berdichevsky

Alina a writer, communications consultant, brand lover, cultural excavator and an expert on strategic achievement. Alina has delivered strategic content and digital solutions for a variety of organisations across numerous sectors including fashion, business, luxury and not-for-profit.

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