If you’re thinking of changing your career direction to try something completely new, the unknown can seem exciting but also terrifying. Your dream career may even feel out of reach. Coming to the decision that you need to make a big career change isn’t easy, but figuring out how to make it happen can seem even harder.
Unfortunately our career choices don’t come with a play-by-play guidebook to help us figure out what to do when we hit a roadblock. Instead, we are often forced to figure out how to fix our careers all by ourselves. The good news is, even when you’re unsure about how to switch career, there are some tried and tested routes you can take to start heading in a new direction. Think of it as if you’re putting a jigsaw puzzle together when you’ve lost the cover of the box that has the picture. You have a vision in your head of what the picture – your future – could look like. But the pieces are spread all over the place and you need to just get started, and keep trying to find which pieces will fit together to slowly build the picture you want.
Remember, you’re certainly not the first and you won’t be the last person who’s wanted to jump into something totally new. If you are dying to break into a new career here are some of the things you can do to get you closer to what you want.
Get real about what you want
Determine your future goals beyond your job title. This is the point where you get to have fun and think really intensely about everything that matters to you when it comes to your work.
Ask yourself some probing questions such as what type of locations do you want to work in? What environments motivate you? What type of hours could you see yourself doing? Is there anything that’s non-negotiable for you?
Get real about what you want to work towards, because your career is super important. You deserve to really focus on what you want, to determine what you’d be prepared to do to get there.
Do your research
It’s essential to do as much detailed research as you can. Ask people in your network if they can help make introductions to people who work in the field you are targeting. Use the time to find out how they started their careers and the steps they are taking to move to the next level. Start reading industry publications on a regular basis to learn more about developments, companies, trends and opportunities. Where possible attend industry events to get a feel for how the sector your targeting operates, looks and feels on the inside.
Review job descriptions
Even if you’re not ready to apply yet, start reviewing job descriptions for the career you are considering. Understand the differences between job titles and levels of experience and identify what employers are looking for.
Do an objective self-assessment
Think about your skill sets and what you do best. Use the job descriptions you’ve gathered to help figure out the new skills you’ll need to acquire for your new career and which skills you already have and could be transferable. Don’t be daunted by this process, it’s just a starting point to help you prioritize what you need to learn and apply over the course of your entire career. No one becomes crazy successful overnight, but knowing what you want to learn and accomplish in the future is super valuable.
Explore career education
Explore opportunities to continue your education by taking courses that will get you a step closer to where you want to be. If you’re serious about your professional development there are number of options you can pursue to further your education. Institutions such as Ashworth College provide effective, flexible and affordable career-focused distance education opportunities. Ashworth College offers more than 125 program offerings that are in high-demand fields such as healthcare, business, criminal justice, creative services, education and trade skills, students are given the choice to follow a path that best suits their needs and goals.
Post by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ashworth College. The opinions and text are all mine.