As most of you will know, the job for life concept has all but evaporated, and in fact, most millennials have probably never even heard of it. Research suggests that the average worker may hold an average of 11.4 jobs during their life. But, it’s not just jobs that people will change more often, increasingly more and more people are changing careers more often too. This is perhaps as a result of people becoming more self determining and choosing careers that suit their lifestyle, salary and philosophical expectations. Or it may be as a result of increased volatility within certain industries meaning that we see massive decline or surges in demand for different skills.
Whatever the reason, career change can be a precarious process and whether you are a professional undergoing a career change or a manager, mentor or HR professional coaching someone through a career change, you may find my four step career change survival kit useful:
1. Select a profession and industry which is on the up. Research carefully prior to choosing your new profession or industry; you don’t want to launch into a new career path only to find there is declining demand now or in a few years. You want to try and position yourself in an economically prosperous industry which will present you with employment opportunities for years to come. Conduct exhaustive research and read economic resourcing studies, charting projected rises and falls in demand for skills over the next decade. Great resources for this kind of information are Manpower Group, Career Builder, PwC, Deloitte, and Towers Watson, to name a few.
2. Find a profession that will make you happy. Don’t jump out of the frying pan into the fire. You don’t want to find yourself in another career dead in five years time. So, why not consider doing a formal psychometric or, more specifically, a Career Interest Test (there are many good ones on the market), because the general understanding is that you will be most satisfied when there is a strong fit between your personality and your profession/company environment. By taking a Career Interest Test, (or something similar), you can find out what roles and environments that someone with your personality is most suited too – and will therefore find most long term satisfaction from. As soon as you know which profession, industries and environments best suit your personality, you can prepare a short list of ideal career paths that you will be happy in.
3. Make sure your new career path is economically viable
Many career changers overlook this. You need to know what your earnings potential may be in this new professional area, because your happiness in your new found career may be short lived if you cannot earn enough to cover your bills, support your desired lifestyle, or help you make personal and lifestyle advances, such as buying a house or starting a family.
If your new career path is not economically viable for the long term, you will soon eat up any reserves you have and may find yourself seeking a new, more viable career again in a few years time.
4. Create a financial bridge
Another potential stumbling block is not having enough money to fund your career change. Of course, a career change may lead to a loss of income as there may be a period of unemployment while you find a job or you may have to start on a lower grade/pay scale than you have been used to. You need to prepare for that loss of income by creating a financial bridge. This could come from savings, a lay off settlement or by simply working a second job at weekends.
5. Be prepared to start lower than your current career level
Moving into a new a career path may require you to swallow your pride and start at the bottom or lower down the ladder; this is one of the best ways to convince a would-be employer that you are serious about career change. Be prepared to volunteer, intern, or work part time to gain experience in your new career path and show commitment. These kinds of actions will help show that you are serious about career change.
Good luck with making that career change!