Not too long ago, we all thought we studied, entered our field, and stayed in it for the rest of our working lives. Those who broke out and did something completely different were outliers, and their bravery was celebrated.
Today, this notion has been completely turned on its head, and many people relish the opportunity to explore different career options.
If you’re ready to make a career change to a completely new line of work, follow along for our guide on the best way to do it.
The great reshuffle
Remember the Great Resignation? That’s over now and has been replaced by the Great Reshuffle – where millions of people have either set up their own businesses, sought better-paid, more flexible employment, or changed careers altogether.
The 2022 Work Trend Index report of over 31,000 people worldwide shows that 43% of respondents are considering changing jobs in the next year. Reasons include a lack of career progression and skills development, making them feel stuck in their careers.
People are also looking for better work-life balance, increased pay, doing something that better fits their skills and interests, and working in a job where they can make a real difference. Whatever your reason, with careful planning and keeping your eye on the ball, you, too, can make it happen.
Plan your career change
Whether you’re in your 20s or just crossed the half-century mark, it’s never too late (or early) to make a career switch. So, where do you begin? Here are some pointers:
Take stock of yourself, your skills and your strengths
Jot down what’s important to you, like flexible working hours, working remotely, being your own boss, reaching the C-suite, working in a job or industry where you can make a real difference, or simply finding a fulfilling career that ticks all your boxes.
Take stock of the things you’re good at and enjoy doing, whether that’s working with people or numbers, being creative and inventing things, conducting research, or working with technology.
List your transferable skills – both soft and hard – that are relevant to all jobs and industries. Universal soft skills include being an effective communicator, team player, and problem solver. Transferable hard skills include researching, writing, marketing, digital literacy, technical expertise, maths skills, etc. For example, if you’re a maths teacher, you could easily transition into data analysis, or if you work in marketing, switch to a career as a project manager.
Draw up a career plan with both short- and long-term career goals and the actions you need to take to achieve them. Career plans can help you decide what classes to take and identify the activities, research, and work experience you need to pursue to be a strong job candidate.
Research your future career
- Browse job boards for careers you’re considering and note the skills, job requirements and KPAs.
- Research, then reach out to others who already work in the industry you’re interested in. On LinkedIn, e.g., you can see what paths they took to get where they are.
- Look for online short courses offering a humanised, immersive learning experience that will give you the new skills you need to make the leap.
- Engage a career coach to help you identify your personal and professional strengths and weaknesses and how well you’re suited to your new career. Or, do a personality test like Enneagram, Good.co, Brain Profiling, Myers-Briggs or Gallop Clifton Strengths that can give you insight into yourself.
- Consider internships, volunteerships, job shadowing, stretch assignments, and part-time work to learn new skills and try out a job before making a switch.
Plan the practical things
Timing, finances and family commitments are all factors you should map out before changing careers.
- Speak to your company’s HR department to find out if there are learning and development opportunities that you could pursue and could enable a sideways step into a different department.
- Do you have enough money (for at least six months) saved up to see you through the transition? What about your pension plan, medical aid, fixed monthly repayments, and how will you fund your studies? A financial advisor could help you here.
- If you’ve committed to a new career, ensure this is reflected in your CV, portfolio, personal brand statement, and social media, especially your LinkedIn page, where you should start networking and making new connections right away.
Upskill or reskill to fast-track your career transition
Whether you decide to change jobs or take on a new career, you’re going to have to retrain to close any skills gaps. MasterStart offers online short courses – backed by top academic institutions and industry experts – that will make a true impact on your new career and help you transition in the shortest amount of time.
Browse our premier online courses that advance and evolve with various industries and equip and empower you with actionable steps to realise your dream job.