2022 could be the perfect time to change your career. There’s no time like the present, after all, and with the world mostly returning to something approaching normal after the worst ravages of the pandemic, many employers are looking for new employees to restart operations and boost productivity.
Whether you’re sick of your current job and desperate for a change or just wondering if you could be better-served doing something else, there are a myriad of reasons to approach the idea of changing your career, and it doesn’t have to be as much of a painful process as many people seem to think. Here are 9 tips for changing your career in 2022 and setting yourself on the path to becoming a better you!
1. Research your options extensively
Don’t just jump into the unknown with both feet. Research your options beforehand to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. After all, your chosen new career might not actually be any better than the one you’re leaving behind. For your research, try to talk to people who are involved in the career you’re moving into (or considering) and ask them about their real-life experiences. Absorb as much information as you can before you actually take the plunge.
2. Have a financial backup plan
It’s not usually a good idea to quit your job prematurely, even if you know exactly what career you want to move into. You should have a financial backup plan in place, even if that’s switching to a benefits-based income for a while and taking advantage of loans on benefits so you can survive while you make the transition. Your financial backup plan could also involve dipping into your savings pot or having friends and family help you out in the short term. Whatever it is, just make sure you have a plan.
3. Keep things friendly with your current job
Even if you absolutely despise the job you’re currently doing, it’s a good idea to keep things friendly and civil between you and your employer. This is because you never know when you might need a reference or some favour from previous employers or colleagues, and if you’ve burned all your bridges, you’re going to find obtaining those favours extremely difficult. Stay in touch with your current place of work if you can, and make sure to maintain friendships!
4. Set up some job shadows
If possible, you should try to enquire about job shadowing. In essence, this involves following a professional around as they do their day-to-day job, learning the ins and outs of doing that job in a realistic way rather than having any expectations. This can help you to learn what a job is really going to be like. If you can, try to shadow multiple professionals within your new chosen field, because you’ll get multiple perspectives and therefore hopefully a more three-dimensional understanding of the job.
5. Have a razor-sharp CV (or resume)
Your CV needs to be absolutely razor-sharp if you’re going to get a new job, especially if you’re moving into an area that’s only tangentially related to the one in which you’re currently working. No employer is going to be impressed with a lack of experience, so you need to highlight everything that could possibly stand you in good stead with prospective future employers in your new chosen field. Try to point to skills, volunteering experiences, or past employment that could give you a good name.
There’s no better way to get au fait with a new career than to try volunteering in the sector. This will be easier in some areas than others; the arts are often crying out for volunteers, but accounting or other business-focused professions might have fewer opportunities for you. Still, you’re bound to find something if you look hard enough, and volunteering not only looks great on your CV, it’ll also help you to gain valuable skills and experience for your job change.
7. Build your skills
Whether you leave your job immediately or continue working while you learn, building your skill set is a great idea. This could involve taking a class at a local educational institution, for example, or even studying full-time if you’re not currently working. You’ll find plenty of courses and study programmes that can help you to build your skills, so make sure to do extensive research in this area to find the one that will truly help you to enter your new field.
8. Work on your personal branding
While your CV is an important document, the modern age is highly social media-focused, so if you do have a social media presence (and you should, from a professional perspective), then you need to use it to work on your personal branding. Remove any posts that might be contentious or controversial, as employers don’t like to see those kinds of posts. Present yourself as a confident, professional individual looking for a new challenge in life.
9. Create a concrete plan
From the moment you hand in your notice at your current job to the moment you sign a contract for a new position, you should have a concrete plan in place. This plan should contain a number of steps, each detailing something positive and quantifiable that you’re going to do in order to facilitate the career change process. Whether it’s building skills, looking for new jobs, or even something small like brushing up on your interview technique, a plan will help you put your ideas and thoughts into practice.