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Five steps to changing your career

11:30am Wednesday 8th June 2011

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Sometimes, we all experience a low at work and feel like we just want to leave our jobs and do something completely different. Often this feeling goes away and things go back to normal. But if things don't go back to normal and you're craving for a new challenge, it might be time for a change. It could also be that your life circumstances have changed, you have been made redundant, you got married or you moved to another city.

Whatever the reason, maybe changing your career really is the right step for you. Career changes can be overwhelming, challenging, exciting, scary, fun or frustrating -- many of us have found them to be all of the above.

Before you change careers you need to be sure that it's the right move, because you're going to have to be committed and patient. To make the transition to a career that's right for you takes time, effort and smart thinking.

Here are five steps which will help you make a smooth transition when changing your career.

Deciding whether or not to change careers

In order to determine whether or not you are ready to change careers, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is my career making me happy?
  • Am I fulfilled in my career?
  • Is this my career because I enjoy it or because of the praise/ money/peer pressure /etc?
  • Is my career stopping me from doing things I enjoy outside of work?
  • What's my personal definition of future success in this career?
  • Am I confident of achieving my definition of future success in this career?

Finding the right career

Changing careers won't be done over night. It's a long and slow process, be it 6 weeks or 3 years, so you need to be willing to put a lot of time into planning. This means writing down what you want, researching the careers you're interested in, writing down what you find out about them and potentially even volunteering or work shadowing within the fields you're considering getting into.

Preparing to change your career

Although changing your career can be a long process, it won't be all sitting on the sofa waiting for things to happen! An important component of the successful career change is paying attention to your existing network of connections, as well as making and nurturing new contacts within potential new career areas. You also need to be prepared to learn new skills.

Finding a way in

Once you know which type of career you'd like to pursue from now on, there are many ways in. You may not even have to change organisations. Opportunities to find new jobs and careers within your company are more common than you might think, in particular when you currently work at a large corporation. Search your business' intranet for job openings and other useful information, talk to HR, the tech people around you, your manager or key leaders within the company.

Finding a way into an organisation you aren't already working in can have as simple a start as calling up the receptionist and asking them for information. Try online networking on sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn, but also offline networking is still important. As well as getting to know your existing network, making new connections within your target field is also useful.

Securing the role

Be smart when you move onto the actual job search. Take your time to plan, research and tailor each individual application as this will be a lot more effective. It's not necessary to throw your CV out to as many people as possible. Just as you should be selective about how many careers you target, you should be selective about how many employers or contacts you target with your CV.

If you'd like some more practical and thought-provoking job seeking tips visit Position Ignition.

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