Career Change 101: The Ultimate Guide
You've read all the books and news articles, but none seem to cover all the factors you need to consider before making your career change. This guide takes a step-by-step approach to identifying your skills, and interests and matching them to occupations in the job market. When you know what sort of career fits you best, it makes landing a job much easier, regardless of your level of experience.
Identifying your skillset
If you're ready to change careers, it's time to get down to business. The first step is understanding your skillset and interests.
What Is a Skillset?
A skillset is the collection of skills, knowledge and abilities you use in your professional life. It's the foundation on which your career is built, and it can be used to identify what careers would be best suited for you based on your interests and values.
Why Is It Important?
Knowing your skillset is crucial because it helps you pinpoint what jobs are best suited for you — both right now and in the future. When looking for work or applying for jobs, knowing what's important to you can help narrow down your search so that you have more opportunities available. In addition, knowing what kind of job would be ideal for you if you're already working but not happy with your current position can help guide your career path toward those types of positions.
There are three different types of skills: hard skills, soft skills, and core competencies. These are defined as follows:
The knowledge, experience, and/or training required to perform a specific task or job function effectively and efficiently. Hard skills include technical expertise (for example, computer programming) as well as interpersonal abilities (for example, leadership).
Soft skills include communication, teamwork, problem-solving, adaptability, flexibility, etc. You may have some of these naturally. Others can be developed over time through mentorship programs.
These are characteristics that every employee must possess in order for them to be successful at their job role regardless.
To get started with self-reflection, take out a piece of paper and write down the following questions:
- What do I like doing?
- What am I good at?
- What are my strengths?
- What do I enjoy about my current job?
- What do I dislike about my current job?
- What would I like to learn more about?
- What skills would I like to develop further?
- What are my weaknesses?
Take some time to answer them.
Identifying your interests
Before making a career change, you need to know exactly what kind of change you want. If you don't know what interests or passions drive your decision-making process, how do you know that your career choices are really what's best for you?
In this section, we'll discuss how to identify your interests and passions and how they can help guide your career path.
What Are Interests?
When we talk about interests in this context, we're referring to things that interest us — not necessarily things we enjoy doing all of the time. That might sound like a fine distinction at first glance, but it's actually an important one: if something interests us but doesn't inspire us or give us pleasure, then it will not be an effective tool for choosing our future careers.
Some people are naturally curious and have a wide range of interests. Others have more narrow interests, but can be passionate about those topics. Still others have small circles of interests and passions.
Each of us has different types of interests, and hobbies can be an important part of our lives. Here are some examples of hobbies:
- Reading, writing, painting, drawing, photography, cooking.
- Sports like running, swimming and cycling
- Nature-based activities such as bird watching or hiking
- Travelling to new places (international travel or road trips)
- Cultural activities like going to concerts or museums
- Passionate hobbies such as collecting antiques or stamps
Under the questions and answers of the ones you have written above. Ask the following:
- What do I like to do on my free time?
- What am I good at?
- What makes me happy?
- How much time per week do I spend on each of these things?
- How much time per day/month have I spent on them in the past year?
Once again, take some time to answer them.
Researching potential careers
So, we have done some self-reflection and gotten some more clarity on our current skillset and interests. We also have some that we may want to explore and develop, and that's great! But before you start sending out resumes and interviewing for jobs, it's essential to do some research.
Researching potential careers is the first step in making sure you're choosing a job that's right for you. You can use this time to figure out what kind of work you want to do and where you want to do it — and then make sure those two things align with each other.
So how do you go about doing all this research? There are two main steps:
1. Look at job listings and talk to people in the industry.
Job boards like Seek, Indeed and LinkedIn often have openings posted by companies in different industries across the country. Check out their pages regularly to see if anything catches your eye. Don't forget about local job boards too—they're often more specific than national ones so they may be better suited for what you're looking for in terms of location and salary range.
Talk to people in the industry. Reach out via email or phone call and ask if they'd be willing to meet for coffee or lunch (or whatever works for them). Take notes during these conversations so that later on, when you feel stuck , you can refer back to them and see if there are any trends or commonalities that could help guide your next steps.
2. Study up on any specific requirements or certifications needed.
If you don't know what the job requires, how will you be able to tell if you have the right skills? Study up on the industry and see if there are any certifications or qualifications that would make you stand out from all the other applicants. You might even consider getting one of these so that when an employer sees it on your resume, they'll know you're serious about landing this job.
When it comes to taking action, there's no right or wrong way to do it. The only thing that matters is that you get started! The job market is highly competitive, and simply identifying your skillset and interests is not enough to secure a new opportunity. Taking action is necessary to make your skills and qualifications known to potential employers, and to demonstrate your commitment to making a change.
One important aspect of taking action is networking. This involves building relationships with professionals in your desired industry, and making connections that can help you learn about new job opportunities and gain an inside perspective on the industry. Networking also gives you a chance to showcase your skills and qualifications and position yourself as a valuable candidate.
Another important aspect of taking action is actively searching for job opportunities. This includes researching and applying to jobs that align with your skillset and interests, tailoring your resume and cover letter to match the requirements of the job, and preparing for interviews. With a proactive approach, you can increase your chances of landing a job that aligns with your career goals.
Additionally, taking action also includes continuing to learn and develop new skills. This can help you stand out from other candidates and demonstrate your willingness to grow and adapt to new industries. Whether it's through taking a class, attending workshops or conferences, or gaining additional certifications, staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments and trends is important.
Start that new career
This is a great guide for anyone looking to change careers, or even make a few changes to the way their career is currently going. It offers a lot of helpful advice and insights for anyone curious about making a change in their lives. It's not just about getting out there and finding a different job—a career change is usually more than that. It can involve taking on new responsibilities, learning new skills and making a lot of personal changes, both big and small. It all comes down to identifying your own goals, interests and skillset, coming up with some actionable plans for addressing them, and then working towards achieving them. All this is easier said than done, but don't be discouraged if you feel stuck right now—there are resources out there to help you turn your dreams into reality!