There are various reasons for deciding on a career change. From seeing a opportunity for career advancement, the threat of redundancy, feeling unhappy and undervalued, better salary to wanting better working conditions.

Deciding on which career direction to take is a decision you should not take lightly. The last thing you want to do is jump from a job that you are not happy with straight into an even worse one. The secret to a successful career change is to know what you want and to then research and plan in detail towards getting it.

A career change can mean three different things:

  • Applying for promotion or a new job with your current employer.
  • Staying in the same industry but looking for work with a different employer.
  • Planning to move to a completely new industry or career.

Questions to ask yourself when deciding on a career change:

  • What day to day tasks do you enjoy doing.
  • What do you feel would motivate you in a new career. For instance money, flexible working hours, the opportunity to travel etc.

It is essential that you research any prospective career or industry thoroughly. Focus on looking into:

  • The working conditions.
  • Salary expectations.
  • Opportunities for promotion.
  • Carry out a SWOT analysis of your skills and capabilities.
  • Do you enjoy travelling, this is a requirement for certain jobs.
  • Are you prepared to relocate to a different part of the country.
  • Do you prefer to work outdoors or in an office.
  • Financial help exists to help people train for certain careers, you may be eligible for government grants or other forms assistance.
  • Is shift work involved, evenings, early mornings or night shifts. If so can you do them?

Common mistakes people make when thinking of a career change:

Do not place too much emphasis on this. You may earn more in a new job, but the stress and long hours may seriously affect your quality of life.

Lack of research
You should looking into any prospective future career in detail. Are certain qualifications or extra training required. What are the prospects for promotion and what salary can you expect to earn.

Not sure of what they want
There is no point in having some vague idea about what job you would like. You need to sit down, focus and write down in detail what you would like to do and also why.

Related topics:

Career planning

Career training 

Choosing a career

Dealing with workplace stress

Identifying your skills

Job profiles

Letter of Inquiry 

Problems at work