How to change your career – with clarity and confidence

29 April 2019

Person with white runners walking on road with arrows point straight and left

Have you been toying with the idea of a new profession? Wherever you are in your career, deciding to pursue a different path can be daunting and confusing. That’s why we’re sharing 6 tips to help make your transition a little bit easier.

  1. Start with self-reflection

Before you make any major changes, take a step back and reflect on whether it’s really a new career you’re searching for.

Perhaps you’d like more flexible working hours or a more convenient location. These things are not necessarily because of your career. But rather due to your specific job. The solution might be merely switching offices or finding a company that offers greater flexibility.

However, if you think it goes deeper than that, here’s where to begin.

  1. Identify your strengths

We’ve all got star qualities. But sometimes, they’re only flickering in the background – instead of shining for everyone to see.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself: what are my strengths? Maybe you’re a people person who’s full of life and eager for a good chat. Or perhaps you’re diligent, analytical and manage your time well. Do you have a keen eye for detail and only settle for the best?

Rather than writing cliché qualities that everyone lists on a resume (like ‘can-do attitude’, ‘team player’ and so on), consider what really sets you apart. This might be a mix of two contrasting traits such as creative and decisive or curious yet assertive.

  1. Use the skills you already have

Think about all the experience you’ve acquired. In your past jobs, you would have gained skills that you can most likely transfer to your new career.

Start by brainstorming your skillset. This includes all your technical, social and academic abilities. It might be highly-developed research skills or perhaps you have a knack for writing. Once you’ve identified your transferrable skills, consider examples of how you used them in your previous roles.

From here, you can research the broad careers that demand these capabilities. Start by Googling ‘careers with research skills’ or ‘careers with writing skills’. After you have a clearer idea of which professions require your skillset, you can research the relevant jobs available in your area.

  1. Set specific and realistic goals

Now that you know your strengths and skills, it’s time to start setting goals.

What are you looking to gain from your new career path? It might be a better work-life balance, more responsibility or a different environment. Whatever the reason, it’s important to make a timeline of goals you want to meet.

Make sure they’re specific, realistic – and include both short and long-term goals.

For example, if you want to be a florist, a short-term goal might be to learn basic arrangements through a short floristry course. A medium-term goal could be growing a network of potential clients, such as wedding planners and event managers. This could be done over a couple of years through LinkedIn and networking events. Your end goal may be to open your own floristry business in five years.

Although it may seem intimidating now, achieving several short-term goals will give you the confidence and clarity to reach your ultimate vision.

  1. Embrace new experiences

Embarking on a different career will usually require some additional qualifications – and experiences. Although these extra commitments might seem challenging at first, there are flexible and creative solutions to suit you.

You might want to:

  • Consider further education: These days, there are ways to incorporate study into your jam-packed life. From part-time to online to evening classes, there’s a study schedule sure to suit you. With a flexible study plan, you can maintain your job while gaining the qualifications to make your next move. Say goodbye to a four-year full-time degree. And hello to flexibility.
  • Volunteer your time: To enter your new field, you may need to work for free to gain experience. Find opportunities online or by reaching out to specific businesses and asking if you can help.
  • Move to another part of your company: Perhaps your current role isn’t the right fit. But is there a different department within your company that you could move into? This transition could be a lot easier compared to approaching a company that doesn’t know you.
  • Attend networking events: Meeting people from your new industry can be the best way to get an insider’s perspective. It can also help when looking for job opportunities.
  1. Chat to an expert

If this all sounds like a decision you’re ready to make, then perhaps it’s time for some personalised, professional guidance.

Talking to a career counsellor can provide perspective, insight and support on your profession switch. It can also help process this big decision. Because sometimes, it’s only when we verbalise our thoughts that we achieve clarity on how to move forward.

Our career counselling program offers qualified, tailored support. By working with one of our registered psychologists, you’ll gain increased self-awareness about your working life, career direction and confidence in decision making.

Contact the Positive Psychology team on 1300 955 636 to learn more today.