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How to Successfully Change Career Paths: The Full Guide

Changing career paths can be a daunting task. Sometimes, even if the stress of your job is overwhelming, the thought of ‘rocking the boat’ feels like too much. But, in actuality, it could be the best decision you make. Plenty of people are unhappy in their jobs, but how do you know when to take the leap? 

In this step-by-step guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about changing careers. By the end, you will know for sure whether a career change is the right thing for you. 

Let's jump into it.

First Things First: Why Do You Want to Change?

If you aren't entirely sure what you want specifically, that's okay. Knowing what you don't want is a good starting point. 

What is it about your current job that you can't stand? It could be the workload, the nature of your profession, or even your colleagues. Knowing what isn't working for you is a vital part.

Why? Because if the problem is something unrelated to your industry, you could be changing position unnecessarily. 

For example, if your main stressor is your work environment, you don't need to hunt for an entirely new career. Instead, all you need to do is seek a company more aligned with your values.

On the other hand, if you feel locked in to your current job but have secretly dreamed of pursuing something else, it may be time to take the leap. 

Consider Your Desired Work Environment

Imagine your perfect day at work. What does it look like? Where are you? Did you imagine a modern office? A busy customer-service role? Or maybe you were sitting in your own home! Whatever you picture is where you should be heading. 

Working from home may have felt like a pipe dream in the past, but technology has changed the way many businesses operate. Work from home jobs that pay well are now in abundance. If it was something you felt tempted by in the past, now could be the perfect time to pursue your ambitions. 

Whatever new career you pursue, you need to take action. With that in mind, let's get into our step-by-step guide.

Step One: Evaluate Your Current Position

It is time to get specific about what you don't like at present. Sure, it is easy enough to dislike your job, but why? That is what we need to answer before doing anything else. A good way of keeping track of this is by keeping notes. Not just mental notes, actual notes.

Whenever something work-related drives you insane or provides a persistent irritation, note it down! After a week of recording, a clear pattern will emerge. This insight can answer two key questions:

Is it my entire career that I hate, or am I just having a lot of bad days?

What specifically about my job do I hate?

Armed with the answers to these two questions, you are ready for step two.

Step Two: Do Some Soul Searching

Sometimes, the best place to find answers to the tougher questions is within ourselves. Your passions, your interests, and your skills should all combine to create a rewarding career. But, if even one of these boxes doesn't have a checkmark, it can result in burnout and dissatisfaction. So, it's time to reconnect with what you really want from your professional life.

Try to visualize what a great day at work would look like. Is it charitable? Slow-paced? High octane? 

Sometimes, to get the most out of this exercise, it can be helpful to use a pen and paper to express your thoughts. Reading it back can prove enlightening. 

Some of the most successful businesses we've worked with have been the product of entrepreneurs courageous enough to pursue the career that speaks to their soul. So don't undervalue your motivations — it could be time to explore a new passion.

Step Three: See What's Out There

Arguably the most important step, you need to see what's available. This process is vital when assessing potential competition. If you enter a saturated market, it will be much more difficult to land your dream role. 

Search job boards using relevant keywords and see what pops up. Hopefully, there will be ample opportunities. If not, don't feel disheartened! A lot can change throughout the year. The key here is research, not commitment (not yet, anyway!). 

Step Four: If Possible, Consider Voluntary Positions

If the sector you want to move into has relevant voluntary opportunities, go for them. It will prove invaluable in multiple ways. 

Firstly, it will give you an actual insight into your desired career path. Secondly, it will provide you with solid experience for your resume. 

Of course, not all sectors have relevant, voluntary positions. However, if you can utilize this opportunity, make the most of it.

Step Five: Build Your Cover Letter and Resume

The final step of our guide: start working on your cover letter and resume. If you have been on a particular career path for a long time, you probably haven't looked at or updated your resume in a while. It's time to wipe the dust off and get to work. 

Pack your cover letter with specific, relevant information and tailor your resume with all of your most appropriate experiences. Launching into a new career path can be daunting, but you need your applications to appear confident. Remember, fake it till you make it!

Looking for a Sign? This is It!

If you have been considering changing your career but haven't taken that first step, consider this your sign to do so. That niggling feeling in your stomach every time you travel to work? It's communicating something to you, and it is worth listening to for your self-fulfilment. Don't wait around to seize a new opportunity — take action today!

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