8 steps for a successful career change that could boost your confidence too

Are you thinking about making a career change? Covid-19 has spurred more people on to think about their careers and what they’d like to be doing. If it’s something you’re thinking about, preparing can boost your chances of success.

Six in ten UK workers plan to make some sort of change to their careers as a result of the pandemic, according to an Aviva survey. For some, this includes relatively small changes, like finding a role that will allow them to work from home, but 9% plan to follow a completely different career path.

As working lives become longer, it’s becoming more common to pursue several different careers during a lifetime. But while we know other people are doing it, it can still be daunting. When making significant life decisions, putting together a plan means you can have more confidence in your decisions and put you on the path to success.

If you’re thinking about shaking up your career path, here are eight steps to take first.

1. Ask why you want a change

To start with, be clear about why you’re looking for a change. Do you dislike your current role or are you searching for new challenges? Understanding why you’re ready for a move can help you make a change that’s right for you. In some cases, you may want to work in the same industry but develop new skills, others may prefer a complete overhaul. Getting to the bottom of the why can help you set out a path that will lead to greater job fulfilment.

2. Outline your skills and capabilities

Weighing up where your current skills lie can help you understand how they’ll transfer into another career. In many cases, skills are transferable and soft skills, such as time management and communication, in particular, can be valuable in any position. Reviewing your skills can also help you identify those areas that may need further development, helping you to get a head start.

3. Think about what you value in a job

When you think about a job, what’s most important to you? Security and income obviously play a role, but other areas are important too. This may be the office culture at a company or the long-term professional development opportunities. For others, the impact their work has is crucial. The Aviva survey found that almost 700,000 workers plan to switch to a role that helps people. Setting out your values now can help you pick a field and company that aligns with them, boosting job satisfaction.

4. Set out a clear plan

The above three points help you set out what your ideal career change would look like. Now it’s time to put in place a clear plan. What do you need to do to secure the position you want? Set precise, time-related goals to help you stay on track. It’s also important to think about what will make you comfortable. Some people prefer to dive straight in, while others would prefer to learn new skills before they start applying for jobs.

5. Start building up a network

Connecting with people in the career you want to follow can be hugely beneficial. It can help you understand what’s involved in the role and ensure it’s the right move for you. A mentor within the industry can help you identify the skills you need to improve and offer tips for doing so. A network can also mean you’re one of the first to know about opportunities.

6. Consider the impact on your income

Will you need to start at the bottom following a career move? A new direction with your career can have an impact on your income in the short and long term. A lower income doesn’t necessarily mean you should scrap your plans, but by calculating how much money you need to make now, you can confidently accept job roles.

7. Update your professional profiles

Updating your CV when looking for a new role is essential, but don’t just add your latest job to your work experience. Go through the whole document so it supports your new aims – this may include rewriting your personal statement and reframing experiences to demonstrate why they are relevant to the roles you’ll be applying for. You shouldn’t just update your CV either. If you have a website or social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, redefining these so they’re consistent with your new goals is important.

8. Remember, you have many chances to get it “right”

Changing career can seem like a huge commitment and it can place a lot of pressure on you. But you don’t only have one chance to get it “right” – there’s nothing to say you can’t reinvent your career in a few years if the new role doesn’t suit you.