Career change is back in fashion in the UK, after a long caution period following the Great Recession, says a recent report by Financial Times. Frankly, however, your decision to make a career change should not be guided by market conditions or economic ups and downs. Do not change your career because others are doing it. An inherent desire to advance your career, achieve job satisfaction, maintain a work-life balance, and do what you love doing should inspire the change. You should be authentic, curious, courageous, passionate, and purpose-driven to be able to make a successful career transition. If you think you have it in you, go for it – but first, define your career goals. Here are some useful tips.
Look beyond your job title
Self perception can be misleading, and it could be the biggest culprit holding you back from taking the right career decision. Don’t take your current job title too seriously! You may have some industry-specific skills, but your natural talent and interests are often your biggest strengths. If you are planning a career change, start by identifying your transferable skills. These are skills that transition well across industries and job positions. For instance, leadership skills, time management, communication and problem solving skills are sought after in many industries. Know which of your skills are transferable and how and where else you can apply them.
Identify your key strengths
Make sure your greatest strengths are reflected in your next career goal. There are mainly four ways you can identify your key strengths. If you can be honest with yourself, doing your own SWOT analysis could be useful. Another way, of course, is to ask for feedback from your colleagues and managers. A review of your past achievements could also be an eye opener. Finally, think of your interests, likes and dislikes. Often, what you like doing most is your greatest strength.
Know your values, basic requirements, and priorities
Your career goal should align with your values. You should have a clear idea of what is important to you in life. Also, consider your comfort factors and basic needs. Are you open for a long commute to work? What is your minimum salary requirement? Do you mind moving to a new city for a new job? What do you expect from a company in terms of organizational culture, work environment, etc? Knowing answers to these questions would help you narrow down your choices during a job search.
Break down your goal
It’s great to have an ambition in life, but achieving a big dream requires breaking down your goal into small, achievable tasks. This helps you focus on one task at a time. Once you accomplish one task, you can move on to the next, and so on. Breaking it down also helps keep you motivated until you reach your ultimate career goal.
Re-purpose your CV
If you performed only one role all through your professional career, it could be difficult to see yourself in a different role or in a new industry. However, your prospective employer would like to know how your achievements and experience relate to the job you’re currently looking for. This is exactly why your current CV should reflect your new career goals. For instance, if you are planning to move from a marketing management role to a public relation job, you should re-purpose your CV to highlight your relevant skills and qualities, such as interpersonal skills, willingness to learn, ability to cope with pressure, and problem-solving skills.
Share your goal
One good idea would be to share your plan with your friends, relatives, and mentors. If some people in your inner circle have relevant experience in the industry you are trying to enter, consider seeking advice and suggestions from them. Typically, your close ones should be able to tell you whether your new career goal aligns with your skills, qualities and values.
Once you clearly define your new career goal, you should be able to write it down in one sentence. Consider including it in your CV. Also, review your career goals from time to time, so that you can keep pushing yourself to reach new heights as you move forward in your career.