When is a Good Time to Change Career?

Career change can be daunting and stressful for a lot of people. But like most things in life – if we prepare for change and embrace it, we can relish these uncomfortable new situations.

It’s important though in life, to be agile and able to react to changes in market conditions. We are all living in an unprecedented time in human history. With artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, new business models and automation all expected to have a major impact on labour markets in the coming years. It’s likely that all industries will be affected and artificial intelligence (AI), will take over traditional career paths that we have become accustomed to. Workers of this generation need to be able to adapt to changes in the economy and to new trends in the labour market.

With Brexit around the corner, global trade wars and a new wave nationalistic leadership, the world doesn’t seem as secure as it once did. Employees should always try to reskill, adapt and welcome change. In reality; the skills we learned in college are obsolete by the time we land our first senior position. College degrees open doors, but it is up to us to learn new systems and processes in the real world. In Sales and Marketing most learning is specific to each company based on how they operate, and employees receive training focused on “on the job training”.

On average, each worker changes career 3 times in their lifetime. Our parent’s generation looked for a steady job for life. These days they don’t exist, with a lot of employers’ viewing individuals who stay too long in a certain role and don’t progress their careers or learn new skills in a negative light. Sometimes just changing jobs is not enough. What you want is a more complete change – you want to do something completely different.

Changing industries can broaden your horizons, demonstrate your ability to re-train or face new challenges, and learn new skills. We call this various career exposure a “Blended Career”. These workers have experience and knowledge of different sectors and various types of roles. This type of agile worker can be sought after and preferred to a traditional worker who hasn’t actually diversified or tried anything outside the scope of their own job.

9 Steps to A Successful Career Change

  1. Evaluate your current job satisfaction:Keep a journal of your daily reactions to your job situation and look for recurring themes. Which aspects of your current job do you like and dislike? What really gets you excited and give you satisfaction in this position.
  2. Assess your interests, values, and skills: Review past successful roles, volunteer work, projects and jobs to identify preferred activities and skills. Determine whether your core values and skills are addressed through your current career.
  3. Consider alternative careers paths: Brainstorm ideas for career alternatives by researching career options, and discussing your core values and skills with friends, family, and networking contacts. Answer online questionnaires, attend career fairs and ask lots of questions.
  4. Check out all job options:Carry out a preliminary comparative evaluation of several fields to identify a few targets for in-depth research.
  5. Get personal with it:Find out as much as much as you can about those fields and reach out to personal contacts in those sectors for informative interviews. LinkedIn is another great source for finding contacts in specific career fields of interest.
  6. Try it out:Establish volunteer and freelance activities related to your target field to test your interest
  7. Go back to studying: Investigate educational opportunities that would bridge your background to your new field. Consider taking an evening course at a local college or an online course.
  8. Upgrade your skill set:Seek for ways to develop innovative skills in your current job which would pave the way for a change e.g. offer to write a grant proposal if grant writing is valued in your new field. If your company offers in-house training, sign up for as many classes as you can. There are ways you can position yourself for a career change without having to go back to school.
  9. Consider a new job in the same industry: Consider alternative roles within your current industry which would utilize the industry knowledge you already have. You can branch out within your current company and ask for exposure in other roles as part of your Personal Development Plan.
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