A new career is one of the best ways to change your life for the better. The transition can be daunting – having to think deeply about who you are, what you’re good at, and what you really want – but it can be done if you follow some simple steps.
In a Harvard Business Review article1, talent management expert, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, CEO of Hogan assessment Systems, says there are five signs you need a new career: you’re not learning; you’re underperforming; you feel undervalued; you are just doing it for the money; and you hate your boss.
5 key steps to forging a new career
- Work out your ideal working situation
The first step is to work out what you really want. Are you looking for work which may be more fulfilling emotionally and spiritually without losing out financially?
A good exercise is to sit down and map out your ideal day. How do you want it to pan out? Does it, for example, mean spending more time helping people?
- Do a strengths audit: what are you best suited to?
Another helpful exercise is to work out what you’re really good at. Your current career might not be exploiting your full potential. You may be desk bound, but your love of interacting with people means you’d be better out in the field or selling.
Another option is to review your past life and reflect on where you have been successful and what skills and strengths you used to achieve that success.
- Work out where the opportunities are
When it comes to careers, it’s not just what we want, but what employers need: where are the demand and opportunities? Social commentator and demographer Bernard Salt says three key social trends – technology, outsourcing and an ageing population – will drive career opportunities.
Salt suggests choosing careers where technology increases productivity rather than replaces people and where jobs cannot be outsourced to other countries.
- Upgrade your skills
Often a new career requires new skills. That could involve anything from undertaking a short course, self-directed study using the internet, or even a post-graduate degree.
Mr Salt notes that future careers require flexibility: the ability to train, up-skill and form relationships easily. “Flexibility, fluidity, agility and a positive, outgoing social demeanour – these to me are the skills of the worker of the future,” he says.
- Put out feelers
Once you know where you’re headed, it’s time to approach people. That could be making formal job applications or meeting recruitment companies. But one of the best ways to seek new opportunities is to tap into your existing network, including family and friends.
What’s stopping you?
Shifting to a new career is a challenge. But if you break it down and focus on yourself, and also the marketplace, there is nothing stopping you moving into a new, more satisfying or financially rewarding career.