We’re always told to build our CVs so that we can advance in our careers. But what if we’ve been building a resume in the wrong field? Is it too late to make a career change? The truth is it’s never late if you’re ready to take a leap of fate and get comfortable with uncertainty.
However, making a career change isn’t and shouldn’t be all about uncertainty. Of course, you’ll take a huge risk, but it needs to be an informed risk. Your job is a major part of your life, and this massive change will affect you on many levels. So here are a few tips to ensure your career change is successful.
Do You Need a Career Change or Just a New Job?
The first mistake people make when switching careers is not realizing that they don’t need a new career — they just need a new job in their field. In fact, the top reasons for job dissatisfaction have nothing to do with the actual work. They include low salary, no opportunities for growth, poor management, etc.
So the first thing you need to ask yourself is why you really hate your job. If all the other conditions were right, would you enjoy fulfilling your core responsibilities?
If the answer is yes or you’re not sure, your current career path is worth giving a second thought (probably at a different company though).
Self-Assess and Be Realistic
If you’re adamant that you need a career switch, it’s time to find what else you could do. If you already know exactly what you want to do, congratulations! You just need to start working on getting where you want to be.
However, if you have no idea what else you could do, it’s time for a thorough self-assessment. Think about your skills. What are you good at? Which skills you possess are underutilized at your current job? You can take online assessment tests or even go to a career counselor, who will perform thorough tests and analysis of your skills, personality, interests, and more to find the best fit.
Find a Career Path You Want to Pursue
Contrary to some people’s beliefs, no one is predestined to do a specific job. In fact, most of us have a spectrum of suitable options, some of them better than others. So even after you conduct self-assessment or get tested by a counselor, you’ll realize that you have a few options.
If you can’t decide between them, start doing research. You can shadow some professionals in their respective fields to see what their day-to-day lives look like. You may even try the jobs out by volunteering or freelancing, if that is an option. Another option is looking for new opportunities abroad, such as in Canada, the USA, or another country. If you decide to create a new career path in Canada, the first thing you will need to do is searching for companies hiring foreign workers in Canada (emploi à l étranger), which will increase your international working experience.
Talk to others working in your fields of interest, compare notes, list pros and cons, and weigh your priorities.
Upgrade Your Skills and Learn
Once you settle on a career goal, it’s time to work on your skills and education. Maybe you need to take a course or even get a college diploma. The sooner you start learning, the sooner you’ll reach your goal. You can also work on your skills independently or with the help of a mentor.
Maybe your plan is to simply live off your rental property income, but if you want to start your own business or you’re aiming for a managerial or executive position, you should work on a set of technical and soft skills.
That’s why it’s a great idea to go for executive coaching and leadership development programs. An experienced coach can help you find your leadership style and develop plans and goals for the future.
Stay Open to Challenges
A career change calls for grit and determination. You can prepare as best as you can, and things might still not go as planned. Just remember what it was like when you were starting out at your current job.
Before you even begin your journey, you need to come to terms with uncertainty and failure. You may face a lot of challenges along the way, but it’s important not to let them discourage you. Be mentally prepared for their arrival and deal with them one by one. When you find yourself in a difficult position, just ask yourself, “What’s the next logical thing to do?”
Bonus Tip: What If You Made a Mistake?
So you embark on a new career path and realize it was a terrible mistake. What should you do now? Stay at your new job? Try to get your old one back? Explore other options? Whatever you decide to do, don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake. After all, you could have spent your life regretting not trying.
Even if you decide your new job is not for you, you have probably learned something about yourself from it. Compare the new experience with your old job. What can you infer from it? As long as you learn something from it, no experience is a waste of time and money.
So without giving yourself a hard time, sit down and make a new game plan.