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Help - I want to switch careers!

Switch careers

The average amount of years that we will spend working is now roughly at an average of 50. With this, it is completely unrealistic to think that you will be doing the same role for that long, so why do we find it so hard to switch careers/industries? And how to we kick-start this change? How do we even know what we want to do? 

HR Expert April Kearns shares some quick-fire tips as someone who has enabled many people to switch their industry over the years: 

The what?

You could be in a position where you are unhappy with what you do, it might not be earning you enough as a salary, or you might just be bored! 

Here’s some tips to help you figure out what to do next:

  • Figure out your strengths. 

  • Try and drill down and figure out what your core competencies are? Examples include: interpersonal skills, communication skills, problem-solving, project management skills- the list is endless. Once you have figured this out, start researching what jobs hold these core competencies at the top of their lists and see if you can envision yourself doing these jobs. You can even use AI, such as chat GPT to help with this research. 

  • If you feel lost even at this stage, there are many tools and tests out there that can inspire you to find what you might be good at. Myers Briggs is a well-established personality test as an example that can help map out a career path. 

  • Speak to people - meet up with friends, trusted colleagues or ex-bosses and ask them what they think you are good at. Often, you can’t see these things for yourself and need that little extra encouragement. 

The how?

Once you have decided where you are going to focus your attention going forward and have committed to a new path:

  • Be really clear in your vision and try not to compromise too much (unless it feels right and it’s a step in the right direction). Put yourself out there and reach out to those employers that you can see yourself building a career with- even if they aren’t hiring, perhaps they could offer opportunities in shadowing the team, internships or even just an informative chat. 

  • Network - put yourself out there and find opportunities to either network with people in your desired industry at formal networking events or connect with people in the industry and invite them for a coffee to pick their brain. It could also be a great idea to be open about your intensions with friends - you never know who they might know. 

  • LinkedIn- Ensure your LinkedIn profiles are up-to-date and you have set your job preferences correctly and they are reflecting the right level for you. It is also a really easy platform to boost your exposure and network, simply by reading other people’s posts and sharing your thoughts, by hitting ‘like’ on relevant posts and by posting and showcasing your own content too! 

  • Training and hands on experience - if you are finding it difficult to get into a company to kick-start your new career, there are many online resources for training. YouTube is a great resource, but there are also lots of low cost options such as Edarabia, Udemy and you can also find a lot on Groupon! If it is something creative that you are wanting to get in to - there is little stopping you doing a little DIY. For example, start by trying to mock up a website if you’re going in to web design and start creating a portfolio to showcase what you can do!

What to Consider…

  • Finances - It may be difficult if you have to take a step back in earnings in the beginning. Do your calculations and try and figure out how long it would be before you see progression in your salary if this is an important factor. 

  • Seniority - Do you need to go right back to the start after being in a senior role? How comfortable are you with this? 

  • Longevity - How far can you see yourself going in this career? Do you think it will bring you more purpose and happiness? 

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