How To | Change Career Path in 2021
The Christmas break is traditionally a time to switch off and get into the festive spirit. It’s also a time to reflect; it gives us the time and space we need to think about what we want from our life and our career.
It may be that you don’t feel there’s any future in the industry you’re in. The pandemic has shown us that some areas we previously took for granted are extremely vulnerable to nationwide lockdowns and restrictions.
Perhaps you work in a sector that’s particularly stressful, and that’s taken a toll on your wellbeing and work-life balance in recent years.
It could also be that you don’t feel you’re making progress in your career and can’t see a clear path to progression. Or it may simply be that you’re going through the motions in your current job, and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to work in an industry you’re genuinely passionate about.
If you’re among the many professionals who’ve decided that 2021 is the year for change, this blog is for you.
Here, we look at three key steps to moving into a more meaningful career.
#1. START WITH WHY
First of all, get clear about why you’re looking to change career paths. Is it the role you’re doing? The salary? Or is it the entire industry? If you’re unfulfilled in your current role, or you’re looking to increase your salary, there may be opportunities available within your current organisation.
Talk to your manager about the potential for progression, or explore how you could switch roles to something you feel would suit you better. If you enjoy the role but dislike the company you work for, make sure you’re fully visible to recruiters who can help you find a better fit.
If you’re uncertain about your industry, however, you’ll need to do a bit more planning. Perhaps you feel insecure or vulnerable in your current sector; if that’s the case, do some research into the most recession-proof industries.
Healthcare, financial services, IT and telecoms, education, renewables and some elements of retail are amongst the industries that have best weathered last year’s storms.
If you feel that you’re not making a difference in your current industry, it might be time to look at something with greater job satisfaction.
You might be happy in your role, but a move into an industry that’s making a genuine impact on the world could truly inspire you. If that’s the case, think about what you’re truly passionate about, and seek out opportunities in that sector.
#2. RESEARCH THE MARKET
If you’re looking to change sectors, you’ll need to build up a really good knowledge base. Understanding the issues, challenges and opportunities in your new sector is crucial, so it’s a good idea to start reading online magazines and other digital titles as often as you can.
For example, if you’re thinking about moving into a career in the renewables sector, Edie.net is a good place to start. You can also check out publications like REA News, Renewable Energy World and Smart Solar.
On LinkedIn, make sure you’re following groups, companies or influencers who are well known in that sector so you’re up to speed, and so that potential employers can see that you’re taking an active interest.
It’s also worth reaching out to a recruitment agency that specialises in that sector, since they know the industry well and can advise you on the transferrable skills and attributes you’ll need, as well as the size of the industry and how well it’s performing.
#3. COMMIT TO MAKING A CHANGE
Many of us like the idea of changing careers, but lose our focus if we’re not seeing the results of our labours quickly enough. Changing industries can take time, especially during the current climate, and you’ll need to be sure that it’s a good fit for your skills and passions.
While there’s always a chance you might get lucky, and some recruiters may even be able to place you quickly if you’re a good fit for a client, it’s more likely you’ll need to work steadily towards making the switch.
You might need to develop your transferrable skills or invest in filling a skills gap, or perhaps there are some courses (free or paid) that you can take to boost your chances. Showing prospective employers that you’re fully committed to moving into that sector – and that you’ve taken all the necessary steps towards it – will stand you in excellent stead.
In an age of instant gratification, it can be frustrating not to be able to close one chapter of your career and instantly open another one, but if you start working towards your goals now, your future self will thank you when you’re in a job – and an industry – you genuinely love.
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