Changing careers! What are your options?
It is projected that on average we will change professions at least three times in our working lives. Perhaps work is no longer enjoyable or a challenge, you are working long hours for little recognition or you just can’t face another of your office’s terrible Christmas parties. Whatever the reason, leaving your job is a serious upheaval and can be a turning point in your career. Today we will focus briefly on changing careers and options.
Time for changing careers
Most people change jobs to get more money, or to move a step up the promotional ladder; other reasons include increased convenience, satisfaction, challenge, and personal development.
Like the birds that fly south in winter, and that dog in ‘The Littlest Hobo’, sometimes you just know that it is time to move on. It is not a decision to be made lightly, think it through, why exactly do you want to change jobs? If your current job offers you security and a reasonable wage, is it worth risking that?
Compile a list of areas where your current job is lacking, perhaps you can speak to your employers and some of them can be addressed, if not you have the basis of criteria for a new job.
Parting is such sweet sorrow
If you’re currently employed, you’ll have to decide if you want your boss to know you are considering a career change. If you think it may threaten your present job, don’t tell anyone.
If you think the news will be favorably received, discuss your ambitions with your manager. You may even be able to get some tuition reimbursement from your company if the courses you want to take enhance your performance in your present job.
Even if relations at your current place of work are stretched, continue to be civil and professional even after you have handed in your notice.
Reputations can spread within an industry if you are moving to another company in the same sector you do not want it spread about that you are unsociable or a bad employee. If possible you want a glowing reference when you leave so keep things on a good footing.
Once you have decided where you are moving onto, you will have to hand in your notice. Ideally, you will have a new position lined up so the only time when you are out of work is a week at most.
The standard period of notice is one month, but this depends on how long you have been with the company. If you have a job lined up, you have to make sure they know that you have to serve your notice period before you can start work with them.
Once you have left your job you will have your P45 posted to you. This is a form that shows your tax code and is very important because it tells your employer how much tax you should pay. A P45 is made up of 3 parts, you should keep Part 1A as a record of your pay and tax and hand the P45 Parts 2 and 3 to your new employer as soon as you start. If for some reason you don’t have a P45, your new employer will give you a temporary P46 form.
If you have a pension, share buying options or a health plan with your company read your documentation to see what will happen to these when you move on.
Changing careers in a direction
It is possible you are unhappy with your whole area of work and want a complete change unless you know what you want to do instead, you will have to seek some career advice.
Visit your local career center and have a chat with their trained staff. They will probably offer you the opportunity to do a psychometric test which will analyze what qualities you have and what job sector would be most suitable for someone with those qualities.
In addition, your library will probably have some good careers resources, and have a look at different job descriptions posted on Jobsite.
Once you have decided roughly the area you want to head in determine what educational requirements and skills you will need in your new career. Perhaps you will need to do an evening class at your local technical school, community college or a part-time university degree.
Start with a few courses to see if you like the subject matter, as you are probably still in work these will have to be carried out in the evenings or at the weekend. Ideally you should try to get some work experience, but you will probably not be able to fit this in with your work hours.
Consider taking some annual leave and spend a week shadowing someone who does the job you think you might like. After this, if you realize the field is not what you thought or hoped it would be, consider switching gears and investigating another possible career.
Changing Careers Planning
The secret to a successful job or career change is to give yourself enough time to do it right. If you have been in your current job for a while you will probably know it and your company inside out.
When you move to another company, to another role, perhaps into a different field of expertise, you will not instantly be an expert. By carrying out research into the sector and the responsibilities of the job you will make your transition less of a culture shock.
It is a good idea to talk to as many people as possible who currently work in the area/job/company in which you are interested in moving to.
They may be able to provide you with some inside information and a point of reference to name drop in a speculative letter of application. Join professional associations and network, network, network.
Don’t underestimate the time and money it requires to change careers. Even though you are not new to the job market, you still have to employ the same job-hunting strategies as someone looking for their first job or re-entering the job market after a long period away.
It has probably been a while since you last updated your CV, so allocate so time to making it look and read well.
If you are changing to a different career, employers, despite your years of experience probably will view you as a relative beginner, which, in a sense you are. Apply for the best positions offered, but be flexible about accepting an entry-level position.
Once you get into a company, you’ll be able to advance rapidly because of your experience in the work world.
Salary won’t be very negotiable because of your lack of experience in your new profession. The salary offered will not be what you made in your last job and may not even be near it. If you can live on what you are offered, take it.
You quickly will become more valuable to the company than a first-time worker because of your previous experience and will be able to command a larger salary. When you are settled in your new job and enjoying your new profession, don’t relax: Start thinking of the next career move you want to make.
Take charge of your career change by being prepared, flexible and determined. Don’t be afraid of change and don’t be afraid of taking a risk.