When you’re thinking about changing your career, it can be easy to rush into things without thinking carefully about what you want. This goes double if you’re already tired of the work you’re doing; you may simply want to sprint out of your office without acknowledging anyone and move on to the next opportunity. However, doing so would be a major mistake. If you want to change careers, you need to make sure you do it right; otherwise, you could find yourself facing difficulties further down the line. Here are our 9 top tips for changing your career.
1. Make sure your finances are stable
First off, it’s important to ensure that your financial health is intact when you leave a job. There’s nothing worse than feeling triumphant after finally plucking up the courage to leave, only to realise that you’re not as well-off as you initially thought you were. Try to have some money saved up before you quit your job so that you have a well to draw on if you hit hard times. Alternatively, if you’re struggling, you could pursue other options such as a high-quality unsecured personal loan.
2. Keep your relationships
You never know which relationships might be valuable after you leave a job, so try not to burn any bridges. Even if there are colleagues you can’t stand the sight of, it benefits you to keep your relationships positive to as much of an extent as possible. Loyalty is never a good enough reason to stay in a job you hate, and if your work friends truly have your back, they’ll understand that. However, make sure you stay in touch with them when you leave, because they could be useful allies in the future.
3. Have a new job lined up ASAP
If possible, try to have a new job lined up before you even leave your current job or hand in your notice. The less time there is between your jobs – and the smoother the transition – the better. Employers don’t like to see gaps in your CV, and although explaining them isn’t necessarily difficult, it’s always better to look like you’re constantly looking for new opportunities. In addition, making sure you’ve got a job lined up will significantly ease any potential money worries.
4. Go to networking events
Before you quit your job, it can be a good idea to go to as many networking events as possible. The best way to network and build connections is to start before you know you need to; that way, when it does come time to call on your new contacts, there won’t be a period of uncertainty. Don’t be too cavalier; sometimes, a networking event isn’t the right one to focus on. Still, if it looks like it might even be tangentially related to the industry you’re in (or want to enter), then go for it.
5. Be honest with yourself
Don’t cherry-pick the best parts of whatever job you’re looking to get into. Before you change careers, it’s important to know exactly what you’re moving into, because it could turn out to be just as bad as (or worse than) your current position. Try to talk to people who currently work in the job you’re looking to take up, and ask them for their honest opinion of the work they do. If you collect nothing but negative outlooks, it might be time to focus your attention elsewhere.
6. Be prepared to volunteer
The unfortunate reality of many industries is that you’ll need to put in some hours volunteering before you actually start to get paid for your work. This is especially true of the arts; while all artists deserve to get paid for what they do – and the climate does seem to slowly be changing in this regard – there are still many venue owners who won’t pay you for playing gigs. Besides helping you get experience, volunteering can also be a great way to work on yourself and to make a real difference in the world, too.
7. Evaluate your core skills
If you don’t know what career you want to switch to, it’s time to take a look at what you can do. Are you good with words? Does your brain work better with numbers? Would you make good management material, or are you yearning to shirk some responsibility? Knowing your core skills will come in handy when it comes time to decide what you want to do. While you may lack the relevant experience in your new field, having the right skills will help you go a long way.
8. Talk to your friends and family
Switching careers is a huge decision. Before you take the plunge, it’s a good idea to involve your friends and family in your decision-making process. Maybe they’ll have some unique perspectives on what they think you should do; they may even be able to help you evaluate your skills! At the very least, they’ll be able to offer a sympathetic ear and help you to decide whether you do truly want to move on or whether it’s just a momentary lapse of reason.
9. Don’t get stuck in an analytical loop
It can be easy to sit daydreaming about what you want to do with your life after you leave your current job. Doing so, however, is counterproductive, and won’t lead to real change. Once you know what career you want to move into, it’s time to take action in order to make that new dream a reality. Start researching how to break into that career, go to those networking events, and build up a new CV based around appealing to specific employers within that field.