Making the Switch: tips to achieve your next career change

Gone are the days of a career for life. On average, the people of today’s workforce change their jobs every 3.5 years! While you may move jobs to a similar sector, many workers are also nimble with several career changes over the course of their working life. So ask yourself, what do you want to do next?  Are you dreaming of escaping a sedentary desk job? Do you want to upskill to obtain a position of higher responsibility in your current job? If so, it’s time to invest in a new career path or skills to get you moving towards your ideal occupation.

I have no idea!

Your brainstorming will probably start with a fair amount of googling. Online there are a wealth of career resources to get you started. Look at blogs and the working lives of people whose lives you admire, in many cases it’s surprising to see the paths people take to get to where they are. Although we can’t all have dream jobs like reviewing 5-star accommodation in tropical locations, think about what aspects you desire in these dream jobs and apply them to achievable prospects for you.

Another approach is narrow down your choices by a process of elimination. Your expectations of salary, hours, location, professional development and job security will help you to articulate what you DON’T want from a job. It’s completely ok to not mind too much what you actually do, as long as it meets the objectives you have set yourself in a particular life stage. The biennial traveller might gravitate towards freelancing or contract work, while someone with substantial financial commitments (aka mortgage) might want an ongoing role.

I know what I want to do, now what?

If you have a clearer idea of the profession you want to pursue but aren’t quite there yet, you’ll often benefit from some extra training or qualifications. Say, for example, you want to get into fitness. The first thing to do is research fitness courses in Melbourne, Sydney or wherever you’re based. You’ll find that the basic qualification you’ll need to complete to become a recognised personal trainer is a Certificate IV in Fitness. Think laterally and find a training institute that also offers units covering marketing and PR strategies which helps if you’re looking to self-promote or even run your own fitness business.

Another option is to outsource some of this research to a careers advisor. Getting a game plan in place to get you where you want to be is one of the trickiest steps if you don’t already have networks or connections in the area you desire. An experienced advisor can help you get started and identify the best networking opportunities for your career goal.

Making a change to a new career can be daunting, but with preparation and commitment it’s achievable if you stay motivated. So whether you work towards a career goal incrementally or take the plunge to realise a dream, get busy planning to make the switch!

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