How To Change Careers

How To Change Careers

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how to change careers

Are you tired of being stuck in the same job? Do you feel like a career change is the right option? We have the advice just for you! Whether you’re looking to switch careers at 30, 40, or 50, in this article, you will learn how to change careers. We’ll explore the reasons for changing careers, the pros and cons, and provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to make a successful transition. 

What Is A Career Change

A career change is when someone wishes to seek different professional pathways outside of their current job. Changing careers doesn’t necessarily mean having to change industries entirely;  it can also involve exploring opportunities within your existing field if a different company culture or management style aligns better with your career aspirations.

People choose to change careers for various reasons, and these motivations can range from the desire for a more flexible work schedule to the pursuit of advancement within an organisation. Some switch careers to secure a higher salary, while others seek to reduce or increase their work-related travel. A career change might involve working under a different leadership team or shifting roles to mitigate stress and find a more appreciative work environment.

Additionally, taking online career courses can help you on your pathway to finding a different job. Not only does it demonstrate commitment to your new career direction, but it also equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in your chosen occupation.

Reasons For A Career Change

Deciding to change careers is due to various reasons, whether it be personal, financial, professional, as well as others. Whether you find yourself hitting a professional plateau or yearning for a fresh challenge in a different setting, the reasons for pursuing a career change are as diverse as the career changers themselves.

One common desire for a career change is for a shift in scenery or schedule. Perhaps you’ve grown weary of the daily routine and want more freedom that self-employment can offer, allowing you to better accommodate other commitments in your life. For instance, if you are a content writer, you may opt to do self-employed work on People Per Hour instead, where you will be approached to do freelance projects instead.

Certain professions are attractive options for career changers. Fields like teaching and law often welcome those from diverse backgrounds, making them particularly appealing to those with prior experience in unrelated sectors. These careers offer the opportunity to leverage existing skills and knowledge in new and meaningful ways.

It’s also important to be aware of the emotional challenges that come with changing careers

How to Switch Your Career Path

change careers man and woman shake hands

Here’s a step by step guide on how you can successfully change career paths without the concern of ruining your financial independence.

1. Determine Your Current Job Satisfaction:

Start by assessing your job satisfaction. This could include recording your daily feelings about your current role. This will help you understand your ideal work environment, your comfort level with your daily tasks, and if your management style aligns with your professional growth.

2. Review Your Interests, Core Values, and Skills:

Reflect on your achievements both academically and professionally, whether in volunteer roles, work experience, or academic projects. Identify your interests and how they can be leveraged in your new career.

3. Considering Other Career Options:

Outline what potential careers that you may wish to go into. This can be both within and outside your current industry. Compile a list of potential careers, both within and outside your current industry. Be sure to also seek advice from friends, family, and your professional network. If you need more ideas, consult with recruiters or career counsellors.

4. Seek Job Prospects:

Explore opportunities on job search websites to get insights into available positions that match your career interests. Maintain a varied list of potential careers to keep your options open.

5. Create an Action Plan:

Set clear goals and milestones for your career change. By now, you should have narrowed down your desired occupation through research. Consider factors like education, certifications, skill development, and industry experience. Developing a timeline of your career up to the present will help you to calculate where to go next.

6. Personal Rebranding:

Before applying for new jobs, refresh your personal brand. Revise your resume, cover letter, and social profiles to align with your new career goals. Personalise your materials to showcase how your existing experiences make you a strong fit for your desired role. Update business cards, personal websites, and contact information to reflect your new brand. It is also important to write a personal development plan and write the perfect CV here so that you are well prepared for your next interview and justify why you desire a career change, no matter your age.

7. Interviews:

Connect with professionals in your desired field or target companies, using platforms including Facebook and LinkedIn. Request informal interviews to gain valuable career advice and insights. Their experiences can provide inspiration and guidance as you navigate your career change.

8. Job Shadowing:

Consider shadowing professionals to gain hands-on experience in your chosen field. Shadowing experiences can vary in duration, from a few hours to a couple of days a week, depending on the employer’s policies.

9. Pursue Freelance and Volunteer Opportunities:

Changing careers doesn’t have to be related to paid work. You can also gain practical experience through freelance or volunteer opportunities related to your desired career. This is especially beneficial in creative fields with a demand for freelancers. Volunteering with local nonprofit organisations can enhance your skills and contribute to your community, and will also show your willingness and dedication to working even during your freetime.

10. Education and Skill Enhancement:

If further education is required for your career change, explore night or online courses for degrees, diplomas or certifications. Attend local seminars, workshops, or webinars to acquire specific skills. 

11. Skills Enhancement and Industry Transition:

Gather the skills that you have learned from your current career and see how these can be transferred to your new path. Identify areas for skill improvement through discussions with your line manager and colleagues. If you plan to stay with your current employer but change roles, express your interest in learning new skills or taking on different tasks.

12. Search Within Your Current Industry:

Consider open positions in your current industry that align with your skills and long-term goals. Shifting to a company or branch location that matches your aspirations can provide a smooth transition. 

How to Hand in Your Notice

change careers handing in notice

Once you’ve secured a new job offer, it’s time to resign from your current position and hand in your notice. Here’s how you can smoothly hand in your notice with your current job.

Craft a Formal Resignation Letter: Begin by drafting a formal letter of resignation. Address it to your line manager, expressing your intention to leave your current position. Keep the letter simple, positive, and respectful. Include your planned date of departure, which typically aligns with your notice period. The notice period duration varies but is usually at least two weeks. However, it may be shorter during probation or longer for senior roles. Refer to your employment contract for specific notice period details.

Prepare for the Conversation: Be ready to discuss your reasons for leaving with your manager. This conversation could lead to various outcomes. You might receive an offer to stay with additional incentives, or your employer may request a longer notice period than expected. In some cases, especially if you’re joining a competitor, you might be placed on gardening leave. This involves suspension with full pay while serving your notice period, and you may be asked to leave your workplace immediately.

Receive Your P45: By law, your employer must issue a P45 document after you’ve handed in your notice. The P45 provides a record of the tax you’ve paid during the present tax year.. It consists of four parts, with one part kept for your records. The remaining parts are divided between His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and your new employer. For additional details, refer to GOV.UK’s PAYE forms section.

Leave a Positive Impression: After your notice has been accepted, focus on making a lasting positive impression. Maintain good relationships with your colleagues and managers during your remaining time. Provide relevant handover notes to facilitate a smooth transition for your replacement. Leaving on good terms increases the likelihood of receiving a positive reference for your next employment opportunity.

Career changing courses from NCC: 

With the surge in mental health issues being reported on a regular basis, in addition to the lack of capacity in the NHS, you could consider a career in counselling. Here at NCC we have created two 2-course bundles that could help you achieve this with ofqual regulated qualifications at a discounted price:

  1. Counselling and Mental Health Level 2 RQF 
  2. Counselling and Mental Health Level 3 RQF

The government’s plan to expand funded childcare for working parents will mean a huge shortage in an already oversubscribed service. You could either plan to work for yourself and use the Preparing to Work in Home-based Childcare Award RQF course provided by NCC as an evidence of knowledge to further qualify local government applications. 

Alternatively, we offer a Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) Level 3 RQF which is a regulated full and relevant qualification that counts towards the Level 3 staff-to-child ratio in the childcare sector.

You may be a young parent wanting to go into a profession that enables you to have school holidays and better working hours to support your young family. Should you wish to embark upon a career as a teaching assistant our Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Award Level 3 RQF would enable you to demonstrate relevant knowledge and distinguish yourself from others when applying for a role within a local school.

Another industry sector in the UK that is struggling due to overcapacity and staff shortages is the Care sector. A CACHE Level 3 Award in Health and Social Care RQF or a CACHE Level 2 Certificate in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care RQF would be a perfect starting point for a career within this sector.

FAQs

How do I drastically change my career?

To make a career change, define your new goals, acquire necessary skills, network in your desired field, update your resume, and apply for relevant positions.

How do I move from one career to another?

To move from one career to another requires self-assessment, acquiring skills, networking, resume updating, and applying for entry-level positions or internships in your target field.

Is 55 too old to start a new career?

Age shouldn’t deter you; consider health, finances, and industry preferences. Leverage your experience, seek open-minded industries, and align with your interests.

How do I change my career successfully?

Set clear goals, research your new field, build a network, gain relevant skills, customise your application materials, and maintain persistence and adaptability throughout the transition.

Sources

People Per Hour (n.d.) Homepage. [online] Available at: https://www.peopleperhour.com/ [accessed 24/11/23]

Liu, J., (2023) 7 Emotional Challenges To Manage When Changing Careers. Forbes. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/josephliu/2023/11/09/7-emotional-challenges-to-manage-when-changing-careers/?sh=6c99f8f2f7c1 [accessed 24/11/23]

GOV.UK. (n.d.) PAYE Online for employers. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/paye-online [accessed 24/11/23]

GOV.UK. (n.d.) P45, P60, and P11D forms: worker’s guide. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/paye-forms-p45-p60-p11d [accessed 24/11/23]

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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