Changing your career isn’t a concept to be shied away from out of fear. While it’s a daunting prospect to completely change direction and try something new, it doesn’t make your previous career choice a waste of time.
The transferable skills you will have learnt will without a doubt be useful in the career you wish to pursue. However, sometimes finding the right way to go about the change can be tougher than expected. Do you train first and then take a new position, or do you learn on the job? Do you wait to set up a portfolio, or create one and then add to it?
To help you manoeuvre through the change of career, we’ve created a guide on the best way to go about it, so you don’t have to worry if you’re doing it right.
Do your research
The first step to take in getting yourself on a new career path is to learn about what it entails. Do your research on the industry by learning about the latest news stories, how the economy’s treating that particular sector and checking up on what your ‘would-be’ competition are up to.
By getting your head down and learning about the career, you’ll be equipping yourself with the knowledge of what you’ll be doing on a day to day basis, and what skills are necessary for the job.
Gain the qualifications
Once you’ve learned what skills are necessary for the position, you should consider how you plan to go about gaining the qualifications you’ll need – if any.
This may take time as you retrain for your desired career. However, if you’re dedicated to learning the skills, you’ll be in a better position once you begin in your new role – so taking some time out to learn the skills will be a small price to pay in the long term.
Choose a role
Speaking of roles, it’s important you know exactly what your title will be when you head for new shores. If you plan on working with a company rather than going freelance straight away, you should make sure the position you apply for is aligned with your expectations of your new role, and will help you progress.
If you are, however, looking to go freelance with your new career immediately, you should be sure on what you want the role to include. While any freelancer will be required to take on a number of different roles as they get to grips on establishing a new business, you will still be the one in charge on manoeuvring the business where you want it to go.
Before you begin your new venture, you should reach out to those in the industry to make all the contacts you can. Making an effort to meet people with experience in the career you’re looking to pursue is the perfect way to help you build a mental image of what you can come to expect.
New contacts will also be able to give you advice on resources, systems and companies to outsource work to when you’re struggling for time.
Find a mentor
When you’re making new contacts, you should keep an eye out for anyone who you think would make a good mentor. If you have a friend or family member already in the industry, asking them to show you a few of the ropes can help you get on your feet.
However, for those who don’t have a mentor in mind, keep your eyes peeled. This is the person who will be able to help you through your first few months and guide you through any hiccups, offering you much needed advice when you need it most.
Build a portfolio
The best way to focus on your goal is to hone your skills with the tools you have. While you’re still in your current position, this may mean building a portfolio of work that you can use in your future career.
For example, if you’re retraining to become an IT specialist, you may want to collect together all the experience you have in IT, such as what systems you’ve worked on, what qualifications you have and any companies you’ve worked with in the past onto an online portfolio.
If you’re yet to gain experience, this can be something you can work on around your current position.
If you want to dip your toe in the water before you don the bathing suit and dive straight in, freelancing alongside your current position is the ideal way to do it. This way, you’re able to build your skills while remaining in your existing place of work.
Freelancing is a flexible way of working around a full-time job that can help you retrain for a new position while getting on-the-go experience.
Thinking about changing career? Or maybe you want to start freelancing on the side of your full-time job? Drop us a comment below and tell us what your plans are!