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How to change direction in your career

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Enthusiasm for your job waning? Does the thought of browsing the jobs market fill you with dread? Is every “exciting challenge” just another task you’d rather not take on? It sounds like you might need a career change.

Having made progress in your career, you might mistake this as a kind of “mid-career-crisis”. However, if demotivation in your role goes deeper than Employer-specific issues, it’s time to move on.

Having spent the last decade or more steering your career in a certain direction, making such a drastic change may seem daunting – and it is. But it’s never too late to find happiness in your career.

Of course, it takes courage to shift gears, switch lanes and start again. However, with the right attitude and approach, you’ll soon be taking your first steps towards fulfilment and job satisfaction.

Conduct a self-assessment

Before you throw in the towel and hand in your notice, take some time to take stock of where you are and determine what you want to achieve. If you already have a good idea of the career you’d like to move into, great: your next step should be to assess how close you are to getting a job in this field and drawing up a list of the skills you still require.

If not, don’t be discouraged. This is an opportunity to re-evaluate your professional goals and reconsider your interests, aptitudes, and work-related values to decide which field best suits you.

Determine what you don’t want – but be realistic

Your self-assessment should bring you closer to an answer as to which career is right for you, but try not to rush the decision. Time is on your side, and it’s better to slowly work your way towards change than to jump into a new job that will leave you disappointed a matter of months in.

The good news is that you probably know yourself far better now than you did 10 years ago. You know what you’re willing to put up with, and which type of work you’d rather steer clear of. From here, it will be much easier to narrow down your choices to a few set options and determine what you want from your career in the next 10 years.

However, and this is important. Depending on the direction you choose to go in, a new role may mean exploring the option of taking a lower salary, or taking on other responsibilities you perhaps didn’t expect to take on. If that fills you with trepidation, it may be better to think hard about the things you would like to change in your current career rather than jumping ship all together.

Draw up a list of transferrable skills

Having worked in the same industry for a considerable amount of time, you may be concerned about the lack of prior experience you will bring to your new role. However, even if your career change is drastic, there will likely be a number of transferrable skills you can take from your former role. These will make your transition a lot smoother, and may replace the need for certain aspects of formal training.

Even if no transferrable hard skills come to mind, Employers increasingly look for individuals with impeccable communication skills and a knack for problem solving. Having been in the working world for a decade or more, it’s likely you boast a refined set of soft skills that will be looked upon favourably by any Employer.

That said, taking some time prior to your resignation to build a foundation for your new career certainly won’t hurt, and if you’re lucky, a quick search online will find you a number of beginner’s guides and resources to give you an introduction to your new career.

Speak to a recruiter

With planning and preparation out of the way, it’s time to browse the market. Of course, having never applied for a role in this field, you may be uncertain about where to start and what to look out for. That’s where a specialist Recruiter proves useful.

Bringing years of sector-specific insight and knowledge of the market, your Recruiter will be able to guide you in the right direction, and find out what motivates you. Making a career change at a later stage  won’t be easy by any means, but with a professional on-hand to support you and speed up the journey, your career change need not be a stressful situation.

This is a chance to turn a new leaf: use it wisely.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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