4 things to consider when changing career direction
If you’ve been in the same job for years and are considering a change in career direction, you’ll probably be asking yourself a couple of important questions: How will I know if I’m ready to change industries? What’s the best way to leverage my skills to get the job I want?
At the Telstra Careers Centre, we have a team of specialists with a wealth of knowledge about career transitions. We asked career advisory specialist Thea Tran and career transition lead Pauline Wilkinson what to consider when changing career direction.
Here are four things to keep in mind:
1. Start with a self-assessment
Start by reflecting on your strong points. “Ask yourself questions such as, ‘What am I good at? Where are my key strengths?’,” Pauline says. “Because knowing the answers to these questions is very important when it comes to deciding where to take your career. Write down your key strengths, then focus on your top five.”
2. Be open and flexible
Plans aren’t set in stone, so be prepared to adjust if necessary. “Change is a good thing and is necessary when taking your career in a new direction,” says Thea. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. So if you’re missing a skill, train!” Take any opportunity you can to learn something new and equip yourself with the skills you might need to move across a dynamic jobs market.
3. Ask yourself whether you’re ready right now
Look at the bigger picture and consider what impact a change of direction could have on your day-to-day life.
“Think about your work-life balance and ask yourself if it might change based on a career move,” Pauline says. “Factor in things like the time it takes to get to work, whether your future workplace offers flexible working options, and how you’re going to get to your new office. Outside this, ask yourself if you’ll be okay with starting from scratch and being retrained in a new business with new ways of doings things in different teams. Basically, you need to know whether you’re in a good place to deal with lots of change right now.”
4. Be patient
Remember that nothing happens overnight. “The job you want may not be the one on offer right now,” says Thea. “If you’re considering changing industries and see an opening that’s not quite the one you want, it may not be a bad thing.” Thea suggests that if you accept a role in your new industry that isn’t quite what you’re looking for, it may be a blessing in disguise. It could help you learn about the business area you’re now working in so when your ideal role comes up, you’ll be ready to take it.
Changing careers can be a daunting experience that takes you out of your comfort zone. Keeping these tips in mind can help you to start preparing for your next move.