How to Change Careers

Career changes were once somewhat taboo. They may have been seen as a self-indulgent decision; a major and unnecessary shake-up, possibly attributed to a mid-life crisis or dire financial difficulty. Long, steady careers were the staple of success at the time, and stability and consistency were considered key, but those days are– if not gone– then slowly going.

These days Australians are changing careers an average of 12 times over the course of their working lives, while staying at each business for just over three years. What’s more, an astounding 24 percent of workers are actively seeking a new job, while you are reading this article.

The dynamic nature of the job market was thrown into sharp relief following the explosion of the global pandemic in 2020. The world experienced mass redundancies and a new categorisation of “essential workers”, not to mention the rising popularity of the already firmly-established gig economy, a labour market fuelled by short-term contracts and freelancers. Covid-19 made people question the very essence of their chosen careers– the “rat race”, the 9-to-5 grind– and led them to wonder how “safe” their careers really were and what was to stop them looking elsewhere.

What’s your motivation?

The key to deciding on a career change is deciding what it is you want, what drives you, and what you could spend the rest of your working life pursuing. No one can answer that for you but yourself, however, if you know what drives you, be it money, experience, work-life balance or caring for others, then you already have a strong indicator of what motivates your career path, and therefore where you should be looking and what you should be looking for.

Top Reasons People Seek a Career Change

There are so many reasons people are choosing to pursue career changes, but at the top of the list is money, opportunities, passion and a mental health. People want to be paid more, enjoy what they do and have the opportunity to grow, rather than remain stagnant, and changing careers can often allow them to have it all.

  • Salary/earning potential (23%)
  • Wanted to pursue other opportunities (20%)
  • Want to try something different/ follow passions (19%)
  • Job dissatisfaction (19%)
  • Skill development and career progression (17%)

Some other important reasons to pursue new careers include work flexibility, desire to work for a new employer, boredom within their current career, stress, redundancy, job insecurity and under-appreciation, as well as interest in careers that make a difference in the community and, as expected, a better work-life balance. Another important reason is that people go where the jobs lead. When workers see a change in the economic climate, they begin migrating to where the money is.

Top Benefits of a Career Change

A 2019 survey recorded the perceived benefits of jumping ship from a thousand career changers moving into a different career direction:

  • Happier (77%)
  • More satisfied (75%)
  • More fulfilled (69%)
  • Less stressed (65%).

Now those are four reasons to change careers that we can all get behind!

Finding your Career Anchor

Workers are looking to be engaged and excited by their career. A 2021 report by Gartner Global Talent highlighted that only 9 percent of Australian workers consider themselves “engaged” in their current career, and that the average for high discretionary effort had fallen half a percent below the global average of 16.5 percent.

Uprooting your career and starting over can be daunting. Previous generations took pride in the longevity and stability of their jobs, and for good reason. During periods of economic recession like the Great Depression, a steady career was the only thing that stood between your family having a roof over your head and some food in your bellies. This means that the idea of stability has persisted. However, more and more we are seeing that most people are interested in a career that aligns with their core values, whether it is in a new field, a new company, program, or whether they have to undergo training or return to life as students to achieve it.

What are the best jobs for a career change?

Your successful career change ultimately depends on you and what you’re looking for, however there are some factors that need to take into consideration, like the projected growth of the industry, potential salary and comparative work-life balance to the career path you’re currently on. You have to weigh up the pros and cons and make the decision that’s best for you.

Marketing, advertising, content writing and PR are ever-growing and evolving industries with plenty of branches for you to swing around on, whether it be a career as a social media manager, content writer or, if you’re technologically inclined, even the information technology side of things like web design. The world is going digital and eventually that is where a lot of the work will be too, so start sharpening skills for your clients. Re entering the work force in a different field can seem daunting, but there are a wide variety of jobs with easy access, and with hard work, a little good advice and willingness to prepare and focus, you can make the transition to a different business or completely different career with ease.

Some of the most popular and rewarding jobs they are seeing for those looking to change careers include:

Market researcher
Project manager
Business consultant
Accountant
Teacher
Nurse
Home care aides
Sales representative
Real estate agent

Some of these roles require further training, education and qualifications, but if you’re passionate about a career, then the time it takes to learn the ropes should be a breeze.

What to consider before changing your career

Over half of Australian job seekers agree that it is vital to be aware of job opportunities despite their employment status. This means looking for work while you are already working. This can be anything from researching the same industry you’re already in and assessing similar roles, reaching out to your professional network for tips or information, such as colleagues who have successfully changed careers, It is important to figure out what jumps out to you, what areas you want to explore, and what interests you when you’re scrolling through Seek or Indeed, and then seriously consider the following:

  • Do I have a “dream job?”
  • What am I missing at my current job?
  • What is important to me at work?
  • What can I offer clients?
  • What are my career interests?
  • What is my minimum salary?
  • What is my optimal work schedule?
  • What benefits do I need?
  • What kind of work culture and environment do I need?

You also need to consider your qualifications, capabilities and what you’ll succeed in:

  • What are my current skills, qualifications and qualities?
  • What is my resume missing?
  • What transferable skills do I have?
  • Do I need to undergo training or take courses?
  • What jobs am I suited for?
  • What development would I need for the career I’m interested in?

How to start a career change?

Do. your. Research.

Too many people get excited about their aspirations and attempt to make a big jump before they understand they undertake market research and comprehend the steps it will take to fly. There are many factors and a lot of risk associated with a successful career changes, so before leaving your current job and reentering a new industry, you need to assess your interests, the company, any extra training, course (or courses) you may need, as well as solicit advice from a mentor and contact business associates you respect and trust for ideas and tips. If you have good communication skills and networking ability, this should be a breeze.

For example: Does your dream career require specific qualifications or education which will cost time, effort and money? How many years will it take to compile those qualifications and do you HAVE the luxury to do that? Will you you need to maintain your day job for a certain period of time before you switch careers

It is essential that whatever you decide to do, you make an action plan which accounts for the trajectory of your new career and the industry as a whole, as well as the amount of time it will take for training and to garner the skills and qualifications necessary to pursue it. Most important, is that as an adult with bills, responsibilities and obligations, you need to account for the cost of your career change on your lifestyle and, if relevant, your family.

Once your action plan is in place, it is time to set goals and start ticking them off. A successful career change ultimately depends on what you need but it is nothing to be scared of, but rather something to be excited about. It is about applying the skills, knowledge and ideas you already have, and directing them towards whatever both you decide on. It will take many small steps to progress in your new career, but with confidence and skills development, you can leave your current industry in search of your true passion.The concept behind this developing transitional model of working is that you can have multiple jobs over the course of your professional career.

You are never too old to start a new career that you passionate about, the trick is to be prepared when it is time to make the jump.

Keen to chat more about what lies ahead? Get in touch with a Course Consultant today or check out courses here.