Are you on the wrong career path? Are you stuck in a dead-end job? Do you regret the career decisions you have made thus far? Then it might be time to break out of the path you are currently on and onto something that will lead to greater job satisfaction.
But here’s the thing: it’s easier said than done! For many of us, quitting our day jobs isn’t something we should do hastily. We have bills to pay, and quite possibly, a family to support as well. And then there is the confidence factor. We might hate our jobs, for any number of reasons – terrible boss, annoying coworkers, poor work-life balance – but despite our displeasure, there is comfort in the routine we are in. Moving into a new career can be unnerving. Sure, a career change may be just what we need, but actually making that move could be difficult.
So, what should we do? Or rather, what should you do if you don’t know how to navigate your way onto a new career path?
For starters, don’t do anything too hasty. Don’t hand in your notice just yet, as you don’t want to get yourself into a tricky position. However, don’t delay a career move for long. While you’re still working, start to think about what you would rather be doing. Your new career may only be a few steps away, so it’s time to get your thinking cap on. What should you do next? Where should you go? We don’t hold all the answers – some of them are personal to you – but we can offer a few suggestions to get you to where you need to be.
Consider the following:
Think about what you like/dislike about your current job role
You don’t want to move into a career that includes traits you currently despise, so think about what you are doing now, and then think about those jobs that offer something different. If you hate your boss or your coworkers, there is no guarantee you will avoid similar later on, but there may be tasks you do now, or company ethics you despise, that can become a thing of the past when you’re in a new role. Then think about what you like about what you are doing now. Where can you get more of the same? And consider the skills you enjoy using. Some skills are transferable, so while you might move into a career that is unlike your current position, you might still have some of the skills needed for a new job. So today, consider the career you are in and journal your likes and dislikes. Then use your notes to start the journey into your next career path.
Think about the skills you want to focus on
We alluded to this above, as you do need the right skills for your next career. While training is an option for those career aspects you aren’t skilled in, there will still be some skills you naturally possess and enjoy using. Focus on your best skills, and then consider finding a new career where you will be able to put them into practice. This almost guarantees you greater job satisfaction, as your talents will be fully utilised. So, list your key skills; those talents that bring you satisfaction. Then commit to research, looking for those jobs that closely align to what you have to offer. So, if you have a flair for languages, for example, you might consider working for a translation service, something similar to Linguistico, who offer document translation for lawyers, medical professionals, and other businesses. If you have people skills, you might consider a career that brings you into contact with people on a daily basis, such as a customer service role, or a social work or counselling career. And if you are particularly gifted with children and young people, you might consider teaching and youth work, as examples. So, don’t let your key skills go to waste. Put them to good use by finding those jobs that will allow you to make perfect use of them.
Think about your hobbies and interests
If work gets in the way of your hobbies and interests, then do the sensible thing and extend them into your next career. Should you enjoy exercise and all things keep-fit, you might consider taking a step into the fitness industry. If you enjoy cooking, then why not consider a career in catering? If you are somebody who is always tinkering with home improvements, then there are all kinds of job roles for those with skills for crafts and DIY. Turn your hobbies into a career, or think about using them as a means to start your own business. Life is too short to give up on your passions, so having the opportunity to follow your favorite pursuits into a new career could be a dream come true!
Think about doing voluntary work in your spare time
Still stuck for ideas for a new career change? If so, take a tentative step forward into voluntary work, as you may well find something you then want to do for a living. Again, try and match what you do with your skills, for both your benefit and for the benefit of the companies you volunteer with. So, if you enjoy working with children, spend some time volunteering at your local school, or at your local youth center. If you are good with animals, you might want to volunteer at a local animal shelter or conservation center. If you enjoy being with people, then you might want to volunteer your time at a homeless shelter or a care home. There will be many opportunities near to you, so head on over to Google (other search engines are available) and find out what is happening in your vicinity. You will do good for somebody else, and in return, you may find your next career niche.
Think about taking a test
Okay, so you may have a few career ideas after taking on board our previous suggestions, but the choice may still not be an easy one to make. You know what you’re good at, and you know what interests you, but there may still be too many options. There are other factors to take into consideration too, such as your personality type, which may or may not inhibit you from taking your next step. And, of course, you may be somebody who struggles to understand what you are good at, or who doesn’t have a range of personal interests to pick from. To narrow down your choices then, and to trigger you into thinking, consider taking an online test to find your next career. You might not agree with the test results, but you should still have an idea about the kind of career that might be relevant to you. Check out these free career aptitude tests, and hopefully, you may have a greater understanding of the path you need to go down after completing them.
Think about people who can help you
Still undecided about what to do and where to go? Do you need the extra support in helping you get on the right path? Then don’t go it alone. Look for a mentor, that person who can guide you with your career goals. Speak to friends and family, and ask for their opinions. Book an appointment with a careers service, and listen to the qualified advice on offer. Consider job search workshops. Even speak to your old school teachers if they are still around, as they may have spotted career signs in you that you haven’t spotted yourself. But be mindful. Not all advice is good advice, so only go to the people you trust, and then weigh up any advice given before coming to a decision.
Think about the next steps
After considering the advice above, you should then have some idea of what career you want to follow. You then need to follow the correct steps to land you on the path you are interested in. This includes taking any qualifications necessary, honing your resumé to match your skills and interests, researching the relevant companies near you, and improving your interview skills. You also need to pluck up the courage to speak to your current employer, but you don’t need to let him/her know about your career change too early; at least, not until you are ready to go for job interviews.
We hope the advice here has been helpful to you, especially if you are currently thinking about your next career change, and/or dithering about what to do next. Life is too short to be in a job you hate forever, so the earliest you can take the steps necessary to improve your career situation, the better. Let us know what you think, and if you have any other suggestions for our readers, be sure to let us know. A better career waits on the horizon, so do all that is necessary to get there. We wish you the very best of success!