How to make a successful career change

Changing career is different from changing jobs. Some of us will go through our entire working lives in the same career,…

Article by:Corinne Mills


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Changing career is different from changing jobs. Some of us will go through our entire working lives in the same career, or a variation of it. This might involve a number of different jobs but basically it’s not a major shift.

Complete career transitions are usually brought about by a catalyst for change; sometimes voluntary change such as a life event or a realisation your current career isn’t the right one. In other instances the change is forced upon on us by an employer.

Voluntary career transitions are easier for us to deal with as they are a result of positive drivers, we want to make the change and relish the challenge. We go into the process with a sense of excitement; it’s a new direction and may be the culmination of years of unhappiness or dissatisfaction but at the core of this we want to do it. We may not be sure what the changed situation will look like, but we want to find out.

When it’s not our choice and change is our only option then the task seems a whole lot harder, surrounded by uncertainty and concern about the loss of our security and status. We are being taken out of our comfort zone and may feel like we have lost control over a large part of our life.

The truth is that the actual logistics and process of change are exactly the same, irrespective of the actual reason for change. The difference is the acceptance of change, so even if your start point is not of your own making, once you are ready to move on then the path to your new career is pretty much identical.

Let’s be clear, making a successful career change is not easy and there are things that you can do to improve your chances of success:

  1. Know exactly what it is you want to be different – does it have to be a major transition, maybe a new job in a different sector away from a difficult work relationship is what is required.
  2. Be aware of what it is that drives you – what are your personal motivators, what are the hopes, fears and aspirations around your career.
  3. Understand what you have to offer- what can you take from what you do now that lends itself to another or different career. What are your key strengths both in work and out of work, which of your current skills are transferable? Do you have potential which can be developed in an alternate role?
  4. Assess the possible stumbling blocks – what might get in the way? Be realistic as there will be challenges along the way and if you are prepared for them then you will stand a much better chance of overcoming them and achieving your career goal.
  5. Get help – this can range from using free web based resources, self-help career guidance publications all the way through to the services of a professional qualified career coach. Research what is out there and pick what works for you. There is no need to do this on your own, having some help and support will improve your chances of success.

For more information on how Personal Career Management can help whether you are looking for individual career coaching or outplacement support call us on 01753 888995 or fill in our online contact form.


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Article by:

Corinne Mills

Article by:

Corinne Mills

Corinne Mills is the Joint Managing Director of Personal Career Management, she is a career coach with 15 years career management experience.

View Articles by Corinne Mills

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