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4 Career Planning Tips for Career Changers

by Career Management

Updated April  2021

In this article you will learn 4 tips that will help you navigate a career change.

1. Don’t think of your next career move as just a job title

When you are thinking about your next career move, particularly if it is a change in direction, I recommend you think hard about the criteria of requirements that will meet your needs. Here are some examples of what you may include in your criteria and consider –

  • How much you want to earn? 
  • What are the industries you may want to work in?
  • Are the values of the organisation you work for important?
  • What sort of environment do you want to work in (inside/ outside, with people / alone)
  • Which flexible work options are important to you?
  • What types of activities do you want to do each day?
  • What types of people do you want to work with?

2. Understand that most / many jobs are not advertised

Many jobs are not advertised. Many businesses either have a succession plan (someone else lined up as the replacement) or will ask their personal networks ‘who do they know?’ before they invest money in a job ad or recruitment agency. What this means is that you need to ask everyone you know about what jobs or opportunities they know about. The better your criteria, the more productive this exercise is.

For example, when people ask you ‘how are you?’, take a leaf out of my book and apply the ‘oversharing’ approach. Especially if they are family and friends! Tell them you are well and thinking about exploring roles in ‘insert type of industry‘ and ‘insert top 1-2 criteria‘ and see where this leads you. Most people generally know someone who is looking for a staff member or will see a job ad that is suited to your career. This means that the more people you tell that you are looking for a new opportunity and considering a career change, the more chance an opportunity will open up via your personal networks!

3. If you have an idea of what you want to do, then research the industry

Most people have a good idea of what they’d ‘like to do next’ but tend to keep these thoughts to themselves. I encouraged the shopkeeper, and I also encourage you, to be brave and talk to friends you know who work in the industry you are thinking about working in and ask lots and lots of questions!  At a practical level, this means writing down a list of the industries you are interested in learning more about. You then need to consider who you know in these industries and arrange to have them over for dinner or shout them a coffee or drink and pick their brains!  Making your next career move, especially if it involves a career change, is a project you need to invest time in. It does not have to be overwhelming, but is something you should give attention to and gradually chip away at, if you are serious about making a change.

4. Consider the role of re-training or up-skilling to ensure your move into a new industry is more financially viable or realistic

When I made my career change I re-trained and worked in secondary schools as a casual relief teacher before I became a corporate trainer. In the case of the shopkeeper, she was very interested in the aged care space (a rapidly growing industry), had a friend in a senior role who could give her some great insights on the industry and really liked the idea of working in a role to help elderly Australians. You must research the qualifications that are required to work in the industries you are considering. Information is power and the more you can equip yourself with the facts, the more likely your career change will be.

Karen Hollenbach

Karen Hollenbach

As the Founding Director of Think Bespoke I help individuals and organisations unlock their potential with LinkedIn. Sign up to my E-insights for LinkedIn tips.

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