5 Tips When Making A Career Change

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No matter what you might think, it’s never too late to shake things up when it comes to working and having a career change. There are plenty of success stories out there of both men and women, who have found great success later on in life. Take a look at Vera Wang, who was initially a figure skater, before going on to work at Vogue. When she didn’t get the editor-in-chief position at 40, she decided to jump ship into fashion design and now has an impressive business and is a name known worldwide, even to those who aren’t into fashion. JK Rowling also didn’t start until she was 32 and was turned down by 12 publishers before going on to become a millionaire due to the success of her Harry Potter books, which she began to write on napkins in a cafe.

While it can be a scary and daunting prospect, changing careers could change your life for the better in ways you can’t even imagine. While it may sound like a cliche, life really is too short, and we only have the one, so don’t let the fear of the unknown kill your dreams. 

We really can achieve anything we put our mind to with a bit of hard work, discipline, and a good plan. Here are five tips to help get you started.

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Make sure you actually want a change in career and not just a change in jobs – 

When people are dissatisfied with their jobs, it is often either the environment they work in or the people they have to work alongside, which end up being the defining factors of unhappiness rather than the job itself. 

Even if it is the job, perhaps the sector or industry that you are in is still the one that interests you the most, but a slightly different position may be a better fit? You might be in the field that you love but simply in the wrong job.

Some people find that once they have taken a break, a step back, or something at work shifts, they end up falling back in love with their career. Make sure you take the time to really think about it and weigh in on every factor before making a drastic change.

Decide what you want to do –

If it turns out that you actually need to make a change and aren’t happy in your current career, you’ll need to decide what you want to move onto next. If you don’t have any ideas, it can be easier said than done, but don’t let the process overwhelm you. 

Simplify things and start by asking yourself what is that you are passionate about, what are you naturally pulled towards interest wise, and what do you enjoy doing? 

Think about what jobs embody these interests and make a list of possible options for you to focus on. Remember, you’ve spent too long in a position where you are unhappy and time is too short, so think about what will make you the happiest in the long run.

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Have a financial plan –

Even if your job is making you want to rip your hair out, don’t go and quit straight out without having some sort of a financial plan in place. Not taking your finances into account before making such a big life-changing decision would be irresponsible and could leave you in serious trouble. While you are researching and creating your plan to jump careers, take this time to cut back on expenses, and pay off any existing debts as much as you can. Having a cash reserve will help you during those first unsure weeks and months if you are thinking of starting a new business or if you need to invest in some further qualifications, while still allowing you to pay for food and bills to live. 

Analyse your current career up to now –

Even if you want to go in a completely brand new direction, it’s always a good idea to look at your career up until now. While many jobs can appear vastly different, especially in various sectors, many actually require similar skill sets.

Go over all of your past jobs, focusing more on the recent, and make a list of any transferable skills that could be useful and adapted into your new dream career.

Understanding your transferable skills will make getting new jobs easier. If you can already highlight this for your potential new employers, they will see your potential and appreciate your skillset even if you might not have experience in that precise field, or tick every box.

Share what you can teach and bring into a new team as a result of the knowledge that you already have and past experiences.  

Mention this not only on your applications but in interviews as well and find several examples to back up your claim and strengthen your argument. 

Understand what it takes to be successful in your new chosen field and upskill – 

Once you have decided on the direction that you want to go in, it’s essential to first do some research into this area before steamrolling ahead and applying for any jobs that seemingly fit your new criteria. If you are serious about making the change and want to be successful, then you need to do some research first to get a greater understanding of what the job entails and what skills and qualifications are required. If you are thinking about going into a brand new profession that requires specific qualifications, look up online courses and degrees and tips onto, for example, how to become an accounting professional or paralegal – remember that it’s honestly never too late to get started. There are more options out there now than ever before when it comes to qualifications and financial help to further your education.

Even if you don’t require any official qualifications, it never hurts to upskill to broaden your opportunities. Are you looking to start a blog or get into marketing? Why not take an online blogging or digital marketing course to help get you started? Make some short term sacrifices to ensure you really succeed with your long term goals.


Is a Job in Finance Suited to You?

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Have you considered a role in finance? This career offers many routes into a huge range of different positions, it’s fast paced, interesting and guaranteed to keep you on your toes because as they say, money makes the world go round. Read on to find out more.


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Skills needed

Finance based roles suit people that are quick and analytical thinkers; if you’re very logical and have fantastic problem-solving abilities, then finance based roles are likely to be something that you enjoy. Some people are naturally suited more to this kind of work because of the way their brains work, it’s not to say you can’t learn these skills but if you’re more of an abstract thinker then it might not be your ideal role. It’s not a bad thing at all, some roles require this kind of ‘out of the box’ thought processes, but finance isn’t one of them.


What kinds of jobs can you get?

Finance jobs range from corporate planning, to bank staff to accountancy, to investments. Yo could be working in an anti fraud department, or helping people get mortgages- and much more. You could be working with individuals, with companies or with banks so it’s impossible to generalise- finance careers are broad and varied. Have a think about what kind of role it is you want to gain within finance, as this might affect the process of working up to it. It might change the steps you need to take to get qualified and experienced if you have a specific route you’re looking to follow. 


What skills or education will you need?

There are lots of different degrees and types of work experience that could come in useful if you want to work in finance. For example, qualifications in mathematics, accountancy, economics and business will all be highly sought after. Otherwise, you could do a specific finance degree like an online MBA degree in finance. Take some time to think about what would best suit your interests, past experience and skills and the career you hope to gain going forward. 


Is a degree essential?

While a degree is desirable with most kinds of jobs, it’s not essential and there are other ways to get onto this career path. If you’re happy to work your way up from the bottom, you can start earning right away on a lower wage and build your way up. You don’t need much all that much knowledge to gain an entry-level position, as many companies will have their own training programs, however, basic qualifications in subjects like maths are something companies will be looking at. High performers are able to get ahead in finance careers quickly, so hard work and determination will pay off if you’re keen to do well.



Preparing Yourself for a Career Change

As life expectancy increases, the world changes. Years ago, it was normal to get married in your late teens, stay together forever and still only celebrate your 40th anniversary. Most of us remember our grandparents, but few of us remember great-grandparents, which are now becoming a more common part of our family structure. Even better, it’s not just our life expectancy that has increased, the quality of life that we are to expect has also improved.

When we were young, those grandparents that we remember already seemed old, even though they were perhaps only in their late 50’s. They were often ill. They spent time in hospital and old age seemed a terrible thing. Nowadays it’s not uncommon to find people in their 70’s and even 80’s, living fun, active lives. Free from illness and the confines of age.

It’s not just family sets ups that are changing and growing. Our careers are also changing. The average retirement age is approaching 70, and many people continue to work for even longer, either to earn the money that they need to maintain their quality of life or because they can’t stand the idea of retirement. After a busy and fulfilling career, the idea of suddenly having no focus or anything to get out of bed for can be daunting. Especially if you are fit and healthy and able to work.

Years ago, we chose a career in our late teens. Trained and studied for a long time. Worked hard to gain promotions. Then, we either retired or passed away before the time came. By the time we settled into a career we might have only had 30 years working. Nowadays it’s not uncommon for our working lives to last for 50 or even 60 years.


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During that time, we change. We change a lot, and we do it more than once. Few of us have the same hobbies, interests, and passions at 40 as we did when we were 17. So, why should we be expected to do the same job? Now that we are living, and working, for so much longer, it’s more important than ever that we find jobs that we love.

Imagine being stuck in a job that makes you unhappy for twenty years or more? Being unhappy at work can cause further issues. You can struggle to sleep because you are worried about work. Your relationships can be affected if you are coming home stressed out and annoyed every day. You can find yourself drinking more alcohol, spending more money or indulging in other bad habits to make things seem more bearable.

Yet unfortunately, many of us live this way. If we spend years training, and a fortune on higher education, the idea of giving it all up to try something else can make us feel guilty. We can have doubts, struggle on through the bad days, and be left with a retirement filled with regrets. But, why? Why not try a career change instead? Here are some things that you should do first.


Don’t Rush in

The last thing that you want to do is rush into a career change because you’ve had a bad week. Take your time to think about it carefully and consider your options before you do anything rash like handing in your notice. Are you unhappy at work? Could you make any changes that would help? Speak to your manager and colleagues before rushing in. If you do decide that it’s time to move on, again, don’t rush your next move or you could end up merely moving from job to job without ever finding a career that you love.


Think About What Parts of Your Job You Enjoy

So, you are unhappy at work. That doesn’t mean that you hate everything about it. Write a list of the things that you enjoy about your current and previous jobs. Do you enjoy working with customers or with your hands? Do you like working flexible hours? How do you like working as a part of a large team? Do you enjoy your commute? These positives might be things that you want to look for in your next position.


And Those That You Hate

There’s also bound to be things about your current and past jobs that you’ve hated, dreaded or just not enjoyed. Write these down too, no matter how silly, or job-specific they seem to be. These are the things that you’ll want to avoid going forward.


Write Down Your Transferable Skills

When it comes to finding a position in a different field, a lack of experience can obviously count against you. But, in many cases, your skills are as important as direct experience. We’ve all got transferable skills, whether you know it or not. Say you’ve spent the last few years working in a busy store, your key skills could include organization, time management, coping well under pressure, and dealing with hostile situations. These key skills are crucial in many fields.


Find Your Passion

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You need to make sure that your career change is worth it. So, take your time to think about what you love, what you enjoy doing and what you feel passionate about. This could be anything, and you don’t necessarily need to be good at it. If you love sports but have little natural talent for your favorites, how about becoming a sports writer or blogger, a sports photographer or you could become a fitness tutor. Think about what you love, and then think about any related careers, even if you need to think outside of the box a little to find the right fit.


Save Up

Perhaps the main reason that people today put off a career change, even when they are unhappy is financial. Most of us live paycheck to paycheck and just can’t afford to be without a job. When you are working full time and dealing with other family commitments, and you can’t afford to take time off, how are you meant to apply for jobs? When will you have the time to go to interviews or take on training? Then, of course, there’s the fact that even if you did manage to find a new job, you might be in for a big drop in pay. If you’ve worked your way up your current career ladder, you may now be on a decent wage. Changing career might mean starting at the bottom again, and your paycheck will reflect this. How are you going to support your family?

The best thing that you can do is start saving as soon as you decide that you want to make a change. Save enough that you can take a few weeks or even months off between jobs. But, also enough to cover bills for a while if things don’t go well.

You might also want to make some cutbacks. Remember, happiness is more than stuff. Cancel some contracts, make other cutbacks and create a household budget. Look at how much you need to be earning to get by, not how much you need to maintain your current quality of life. Remember what’s important.



Even if you’ve saved up, you might not have enough money or time to head back to school. But you have got other options. You could study online, part-time, at a local college in the evenings. You can read up and teach yourself, and even apply for related volunteer jobs to gain further knowledge and experience.


Then, It’s Time to Jump


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You don’t want to rush, but you can’t keep putting it off either. When you’ve found something that you really want, and saved enough money, don’t make excuses, jump in.


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