Changing career can be daunting at any stage of life. Career change is something that brings fear into the minds of many. Our careers are tied into who we are on a basic level, the amount of time alone we spend at work, our sense of physical security, psychological security, our identities are usually very wrapped up in what we do - it's no surprise that most people find it a lonely, confusing and often impossible thing to tackle alone.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Successful career change is possible at any age. Here are SEVEN’s 7 keys to successful career change:
1. Believe it’s possible.
People change careers all the time. That’s a fact. So finding evidence that it is possible for others, will build a case in your mind for you to do the same. We have people coming to us wanting this all the time at all stages of life and ages. Nothing in life is easy and changing the direction of your career is like all other goals will take patience, determination and hard work – but it is doable. People do it all the time and so can you.
2. Manage the risks
We’re not advocates of quitting your job and jumping into something new without proper qualification, research and a plan. Slow steady managed change is usually much more reliable and likely to be successful. You have financial commitments, maybe a mortgage, maybe family. You have right now a stable secure reliable income stream from your current career – use that to your advantage. Use this time to really plan & manage the risks involved with career change.
3. Keep working in your current career and get some help to figure out what you’d like to be doing instead.
Do some training/ get some credentials in your new field. Making contacts with the right people who can let you know about opportunities in your new chosen path. These things take time. Even if you work flat out and do all the right things – there is a lead-time involved in change – be realistic about this and manage your expectations accordingly – it will help you stay motivated and committed on your journey.
4. Do your research.
When you’re changing careers – you want to feel confident you’re making the right decision. You want to feel comfortable that 5 years from now you are not going to regret this decision and instead it’s going to be the best decision that you ever made. So you got to get your facts straight about the new directions your about to take – and that it actually will fulfil the things you want and need from your new career.
5. Know (with crystal clarity) what you want and need from your new career.
Knowing what your needs are from a career for it to fulfil you. Balance your focus on emotional and practical needs. Financial security? Good work life balance? Opportunities to travel? Opportunities to learn? Making a difference? Whatever it is – know what are your top 5 must haves in order of importance and exactly what you will see happening in your world at work that will help you know that you’re getting this. This will enable you qualify jobs that will work for you very easily. You’ll be surprised at how many often you will start to see opportunities that you can now be certain will fulfil you.
6. Look for opportunities in your current career (with fresh eyes).
It’s always easier to make a pivot in your current career than a full out dramatic change. A pivot is the equivalent of a 1 step career change where you change only 1 aspect of your career (either your industry or your job activity) rather than both at the same time. In an ideal world you may want to change both (called a 2 step change) but in practical terms a 1 step change the first step of how most career change takes place as it allows career changers to have some experience to leverage when talking to potential employers. Now that you have a clearer recognition of what you need – look at opportunities within your current career to get a bit more of what you want.
7. Proactively seek out help and advice.
People can be incredibly generous, helpful, sincere and willing to help people out when asked for help – we see this all the time through informational interviewing, networking in our QUALIFY + IMPLEMENT stages of our coaching programmes. Being brave enough to immerse yourself in the new world you want to enter is key. Start to make new friends, learn new things, be exposed to opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have even known existed. Proactively go out and talk to people, tell them about your situation and the change you want to make. Ask for their advice. You’ll be surprised at the kind of results you’ll start to experience.
Surprise Top Tip: Get the help of a career coach.
We are biased of course, but the power of having your own dedicated expert career coach helping to steer you on this journey will make all the difference of being on course, in the right direction, working smart not hard, strategically and consciously making choices as opposed to reacting. Having an expert navigate you in the most effective way through the process of career change will save you months (years) of frustration, mistakes, stress and the resulting loss of income from this. Having expert guidance can really help cut out the anxiety and confusion your probably feeling about your situation and replace it with confidence about how you need to proceed. Career coaches have experience in helping many people wanting more fulfilling careers and can offer practical guidance on how to make this change easily.
To learn more about the specific area of coaching that fits you, go to