Are you thinking about making a change in your career? If so, you might be going through a period of stress, doubt, insecurity; or even a bit of disorientation. This mixture of feelings is completely normal. You may have to face uncertainty and obstacles, but it’s a learning experience that will help you become a life-long learner.
Starting something new can be very exciting and rewarding. So, before you let doubt and fear stop you, check out some tips that might help:
What are your career priorities?
You should centre your new career around what really matters to you (time with family, money, flexibility, recognition, etc.). Each person has their own definition of career, their own goals in life, and their own priorities. Take a step back and think about the following questions:
• What do you want?
• What does career success mean to you?
• What’s important to you?
• What are you seeking in your new career?
• Why are you looking for this change?
While many people know what they don’t want, they are not so clear about what they actually do want. A number of different paths can lead you to a successful career. Knowing your priorities will therefore motivate you and help you realise which direction to take.
Also, keep in mind that you may be asked the above questions in a future interview. Being ready to answer them is also a useful way to tell your personal story and defining who you are.
Overcome any fear and step out of your comfort zone
When it comes to change, it’s very common to have a fear of the unknown. Many of us would prefer to stick with the status quo, rather than explore unfamiliar territory. But once you’ve decided to make a career jump, you should put your fears to the side and push forward to avoid getting stuck. Confidence plays a significant role in this stage; negative personal perception is a block to learning and progress. If you’re not self-confident, any dread will keep you from advancing successfully to your new professional life.
Instead of taking a step back and letting fear stop you from exploring new opportunities, take a step forward, and get out of your comfort zone. And once you’re out of it, you’ll be able to broaden your horizons, learn new things and put your strengths to the test.
Transfer your skills to your new career
Be self-aware and identify your transferable skills. Then, build a bridge from your old job to your new one, there’s always a way to connect them. Make a list of what you were good at in your past jobs, or what you enjoyed doing. You can also ask your colleagues or even your boss. For example, if you’re good at running a task force, you’re a good leader, no matter the field.
Create a good network
The people that are around you are a crucial part not only of your career but also in your life in general. When we say networking, we’re not only referring to reaching out to new contacts (who you might already know). Knowing people from your new field of interest is really helpful, but a strong social support network is also essential. Usually, when we make important decisions in our lives, we discuss them with to our closest circle (family, partner, friends), seeking positive feedback.
When you feel supported, you’re more likely to do things in a more motivated way and; try your best not to disappoint your supporters. Ensure that you’re surrounded by the right people, who empower you and are willing to grow with you. Don’t let negative people and comments get in your way.
Willingness to learn
If you’re making a career jump, you’ll probably need some new skills and abilities for a new position. It’s good to expand your knowledge, do some research; and be open to new information. Read and learn from the experience of others. You can find tips for self-improvement by learning from other’s’ mistakes and achievements; this will also save you time. When someone is telling their story, they’re transferring knowledge that may have taken them a long time to learn. What did they do wrong, and what went right? Although every story is different, you can always acquire new knowledge from them. You could also ask someone who’s made a career change for advice and take note.
As Charles Handy said in his book The Age of Unreason: “Change, after all, is only another word for growth, another synonym for learning.” If you’re well disposed to learn, you’re also set up to change.
Be realistic while making a career jump
When making such a big change, there are many things to be taken into consideration. One of them is your financial situation. Analyse your situation realistically before making any decisions. If you’re currently working and think you’re financially stable enough to leave your job and focus on your new career, go ahead. But if you can’t quit your job, you should start with a side gig. This means starting to try things out while you keep your current position until you find a new career that really fulfils you.
Changing careers also means making some sacrifices. Keep in mind that you probably won’t get everything you want. You might have to give up on things to achieve your goal, so think about what you’re willing to sacrifice. For instance, if you’re looking to spend more time with your family, it’s best not to look for a job that involves travelling around the world.
Relax and enjoy the journey
Last but not least, remember to enjoy the journey. There is no “best time” for a career jump. Whenever you decide to take the plunge, enjoy it, whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 60s. You can choose how, when, with whom, and from where you want to start your journey. As already mentioned, there’s not just one right way to go about it. So don’t rush things. You can take little steps until you reach your goal, and make sure you are enjoying and learning from each of them. Don’t blame yourself when something goes wrong; failure is inevitable. Keep your self-esteem positive – and remember that failure is a stepping stone to success.
Making a career jump is a complex issue; there are many different cases that may require adapted strategies. In this article, you’ve learned some general guidelines, but don’t forget to tailor them to your current personal situation.
Stop making excuses for yourself and remember to:
• Know your priorities.
• Overcome your fears and step out of your comfort zone.
• Stay confident and motivated.
• Know your skills and how to transfer them
• Create a good network
• Be predisposed to learn
• Analyse your situation and be realistic
• Relax and enjoy the journey
We wish you the best of luck with your career jump!
By Kaixi Jia