With a new year comes new professional goals – and for some, a change in career altogether.
Making the switch to new roles or industries can be a daunting venture, especially in our current era of (pandemic-fuelled) uncertainty. Still, if you’ve had a long-time appetite for change, then perhaps the leap may be worth it.
Below, we break down the key signs that it’s time for a career change, how to build yourself a new path, and how to gain the skills necessary for employment.
When is the right time for a career change?
The “right time” for a career change will depend on the person and their professional goals. For some, a lack of passion or interest is enough to jump ship – while others may prioritise financial stability. It’s also important to assess your current financial situation,
and whether you have the resources to tide you over to your next role.
In general, it may be time to make a change once you feel a sense of “stagnation”. Do you no longer feel challenged? Have you stopped thinking about the “big picture”, and are simply going through the motions? When fulfillment falls by the wayside, replaced instead by apathy, boredom, or a sense of dread, then it may be time to shift gears.
Lifestyle is another factor to consider, as you may desire a career path of greater excitement – or, on the flipside, more flexibility. If you find yourself itching to be “on the field” more, or are looking to spend more time for yourself and family, then looking for new opportunities may be worthwhile.
How to choose the right career for you
Determine your interests and passions
Before calling it quits, it’s important to plan out your potential next steps. If you aren’t satisfied with your current role, consider the kind of tasks, projects, and responsibilities you’d rather take on instead.
Factor in your current interests and passions, and the types of career paths that cater to them. You may not even need to shift companies or industries altogether – instead, it could be worth exploring any new roles or opportunities available under your current employer.
At times, it may not be the work itself; but other, peripheral factors like a poor company culture,
long commutes, or bad management. In these circumstances, it may be worth staying in your current industry, while making minor changes such as moving closer to work, switching teams, or seeking a new company in the same field.
Take inventory of your current skills and qualifications
Once you’ve decided on your new career path, take the time to assess your current skill set, work experience, and education. Are you qualified enough to explore a new specialty, or are there skills areas that need improving? Research on the professional abilities necessary for your desired roles, and make a list of the skills and experience you’ve yet to acquire.
With certain professions, a specific level of education is often necessary for employment. Cloud computing jobs, for example, will typically favour those with globally-recognised certifications
under trusted cloud providers like AWS or Microsoft.
Knowing the types of qualifications you’ll need can help you with the next step.
Consider further training
There are few better ways of standing out in the job market than having nationally (or internationally) recognised credentials under your belt. Pursuing further education
for your desired career not only equips you with more in-depth knowledge and technical experience for the field, but can also increase your chances for employment.
Vocational education and training (VET), in particular, has statistically been known to achieve this, with over 83%
of Australian graduates (age 20-64 years old) finding employment in 2020 after getting qualified. Plenty such resources are now available online, benefiting those in remote areas or the currently employed seeking flexible forms of study.
Tap into your network
According to research by Payscale, experts have estimated about 70-80%
of people end up in their current role due to networking. Those seeking a career change
can thus benefit from reaching out to their current business contacts, helping them gain access to the “hidden job market” (also known as the new pool of jobs that are never listed, and instead filled through internal hires or networking).
Of course, take the time to start genuine conversations with your contacts, and offer your help (where necessary) in return. This helps you build strong rapport and a trusting business relationship – while avoiding sounding demanding or self-centred.
Consider the lifestyle you want
Finally, be sure to consider your lifestyle preferences. Does your desired career path offer you the work-life balance
you’re after? Are the companies open to flexible working arrangements? Or are you willing to work long hours and constantly travel for the sake of your job?
Understanding your lifestyle wants and needs is crucial to ensuring long-term fulfillment in your new career. If the role you’re after doesn’t quite fit – perhaps there are other specialties in the industry that better cater to your personal needs.
How to develop the skill set required for a new career
Undertake a course (or two)
As mentioned, pursuing further training can help equip you with the technical skills, experience, and knowledge you need for your desired role. With plenty now available online (such as those provided by Upskilled), you also have the flexible option of training around your personal needs and schedule. You may benefit from studying a short course, which can equip you with the job-ready skills in a few months!
Seek volunteer or internship opportunities
Of course, it’s also important to put your newfound skills to practice. Consider any available volunteer
or internship opportunities in your field, as this helps you apply your training to an actual workplace context. At the same time, these placements are also great opportunities for building your professional network.
Pursue your own personal projects
Finally, be sure to exercise your skills in the form of passion projects. This allows you to pursue your personal interests, and helps you build a portfolio for potential employers. Having completed independent projects under your belt demonstrates initiative, creativity, and devotion to your profession – all traits valued by any employer, regardless of industry.
Pursue your dream career this 2022!
Upskilled offers a wide range of practical training courses across Australia’s thriving industries; from in-demand areas in tech to fulfilling community service roles. Those seeking a career change can build the skills they need through our flexible, nationally-recognised courses.
Build the career you deserve in 2022, and enquire with us on an online course today.