How to move toward a career change

Author: Kelsey Bricknell

Published on June 28

Stuck in a rut? Check out these five steps to help you move toward a career change!

Is your current job getting you down? Do you feel sick at work and have nightmares about it most nights?

Feeling stressed at work can be normal, but feeling depressed and trapped, even after you’ve gone home, is not. If you’re feeling like this, you’re not alone – experts suggest that people burn out and change careers between three and seven times over their lifetime.

But how do you change careers if you don’t know where to go next?

The following five steps will get you thinking more about your options and which doors might open up for you next!

1. Analyse your values

The first place to start looking for your new career is within. Think about yourself: what gets you up in the morning; what makes you happy? If your first answer is “my alarm” and your second “nothing anymore”, a change is definitely for you! Think about what (used to) drive you; what your passions are. For some it might be money, for others it could be the outdoors, being creative, or helping others. Whatever it is that you value, make a list and start there. Research jobs that allow you to act out your values.

2. Focus on what you can offer

No experience is a wasted one. Even if you are burnt out in your current job, there are always skills that you can take with you. Concentrate on what you enjoy; what you’re good at. Perhaps you get along really well with your co-workers, or you might have excellent recall and remember lots of information (even if it doesn’t always seem relevant!). Make a list of these skills and look at them against your “Values” (step 1). Have a read around and see how transferable your skills could be – you’ll probably surprise yourself.

3. Upskill

When considering a career change, further study can be your best friend. Not only will studying something you love reassure you that it’s the right move for you, but it will also look impressive on your resume. These days most workplaces encourage their employees to build on their skills and keep learning. If you want to stand out from the crowd, add to your skills and show how keen you are to know everything you can about your new career.

4. Use your connections

Connections are your secret weapon. Whether they’re friends, coworkers, mentors, trainers, or even suppliers at your current job, these people can help you to move more quickly toward the career that you want. Changing careers can be scary, but if you have a good support network around you, you won’t feel so alone. The support of a friend, or a killer reference from a coworker or trainer could be all the edge you need to get that new job. If you don’t feel like you have any connections, don’t worry. Refer to step three and Upskill! Enrolling in study is the best way to make useful connections.

5. Don’t give up

The traditional approach to the workplace is that you get a stable job and stick with it, whether you’re happy there or not. In today’s society, this is not acceptable. With statistics telling us that most people change jobs between 12-15 times and careers between 3-7 times in a life time, you shouldn’t feel like you have to settle. If you’re stuck in a rut; if the pay or stability of your job is no longer enough to excite you and get you bouncing out of bed in the morning, there’s no reason to stick with it. Obviously bills still need to be paid, so it’s not smart to quit straight off the bat, but put steps in place to make your move onward and upwards.

Write your “Values” list; research careers or workplaces that your values align with; focus on your skills and build on them through study to get you to where you want to be. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into new career options. Take internships, volunteer your time, or enroll in flexible study programs that allow you to keep working while moving forward with your future. Don’t let anyone tell you that it can’t be done; that it’s not a wise decisions – after all, the statistics work in your favour!

If you’re still unsure that a career change is right for you, take some advice from Apple’s extremely successful co-founder and visionary, Steve Jobs:

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”