7 Steps to Career Change

We may decide to change careers for a variety of reasons. For some of us, a career change occurs out of necessity. We may have experienced an injury at work which necessitates a change, or the industry we work in has taken a significant toll on our mental health. Changing careers can be challenging at the best of times. Changing careers at a time when the decision may have been forced upon us can make this process even harder to navigate. Whilst it may be tempting to jump straight to action, creating plans or setting goals, it is really important to pause and take stock. The following steps may help when navigating a career change.

1. Consider your values

It may be helpful to start by considering what is important in the next role. Considering our most important personal and career values may provide some direction. Our values are like a compass helping to guide us in the right direction. When we work in roles where we are able to work in line with our values, we are more likely to find enjoyment, meaning and purpose in life.

2. Assess your transferrable skills

Completing a stock take of transferable skills may help to provide clarity about the types of roles which are a good fit. Although a change of industries may be required, many of the skills learned throughout our career may be useful in the next role. Skills such as communication, team work, and leadership (among others) can be readily transferred to other sectors.

3. Develop a list of options

After deciding what is important and being clear about our skillset, we can consider which roles align with both our skills and values. Online tools such as the Australian Skills Classification, Occupation Profile, or MyFuture may help in this process. It is important to keep an open mind at this point. We are not yet assessing the suitability of the options. At this point, simply take note of any options which seem interesting or appear to be a good fit. It may be helpful to do more research about the roles or industries being considered if more information is required. For example, it may be helpful to speak with people already working in the roles or industries you are interested in.

4. Consider the pros and cons

After developing a set of options, narrow the list down to the top 3-5 preferred options. We can then consider the positives and negatives of each option. Considering things such as; education required, average salary, or options to work from home should form part of this analysis. Reflecting on how closely each option is aligned with the values and skills identified earlier can help provide clarity around the top preferred option. Our top preferred option will generally be the one which fits best with our skills and values.

5. Undertake a gap analysis

Once we’ve decided on the top preferred option it may be helpful to investigate the gap between where we are and where we need to be to start working in the role. Your analysis should consider what skills or resources are needed in order to move into the new role. It may be helpful to consider things such as education, networks, and relevant experience.

6. Develop SMART goals

After completing a gap analysis, developing a plan to overcome any gaps identified may be helpful. The plan should include specific goals to work towards and include outcome goals, performance goals and process goals. When setting goals, it’s important to set SMART goals. SMART goals are those which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. 

7. Work consistently towards goals

A common pitfall with goal setting is that we often try to take on too much all at once. Rather than attempting to make lots of big changes all at once, it may be more helpful to set small and manageable goals that we can work on each day. We are more likely to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves by setting aside regular time and consistently taking small actions towards our goals.

Navigating a career transition can be challenging. If you need support navigating this process, a Psychologist with experience in this area may be able to help. Contact Uplift Psychology to find out how we can help.

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