You hate your job because it is not what you want to be doing in life. But you’ve already spent too many years at it because you thought you could be good at it—or rather your parents thought it would make a great career for you. What you truly want to do is not even relevant to your current career path or perhaps you don’t even know what you want to do. Either way, you don’t have a degree or experience to prove you’re good at it. Is it a wise decision to look at a career change?
How is anyone going to give you a job?
But it won’t be easy. You will have to show some patience and also be ok with not being paid as much as you used to.
In exchange, you will feel like yourself again! You will be happy because if you do something you love, you will never have to ‘work’ another day! If this is not motivating enough, I would like to tell you that many people are opting for a career change and it’s something not unheard of.
Now If you’re ready to put in the effort to get what you really want, then here are some tips that can help you start towards a career change.
STEP 1: Figure out what you really want to do before you decide a Career Change.
I still have no idea what I really want to do. I have a lot of hobbies and interests, though. So I am giving everything, that I might enjoy, a try.
I am working a part time job, interning as a content marketer. I am also an Assistant PR for my local Toastmasters club and also volunteering at an NGO. I am trying to see which one of these could potentially lead me into something I really enjoy doing.
By volunteering, I am building essential skills that can be used anywhere I go. Movingworld’s research shows the many benefits of volunteering and how it can land you a dream job. You can read it here.
You can do the same. Try out a few internships or start volunteering. Doing this will give you an idea of the kind of work that is involved in the career change you want to make. Platforms like Internshala and Letsintern can put you in touch with places that offer internships. There are a lot more platforms in the market and you can have a loot at all of them to identify which one works for you the most.
Or you can take Jobspire’s Pathfinder Test to help you understand what you can take up based on your personality and interests.
Meanwhile, while you’re at an internship or wherever you meet new people, make sure you talk to them so that you can take the next step.
STEP 2: Tap into your network
Once you have figured out which direction you want to take your career towards, send out feelers within your network about what you want to do. Or if you still haven’t figured it out, use your network as a way to research about more career options. Ask every contact you have about what they do for a living. When something sounds interesting zero in on it and ask more questions. Find out what aptitude and skills you need for the particular job.
But make sure, none of this reeks of desperation. Don’t take a job for the heck of it. This article can help you fight this situation. Know what you are getting into, and also the possible learning’s in the field so that you have a growth path for yourself planned.
Talk to all your friends, colleagues, relatives.
This is when all your gossipy aunties will come in handy. Ask what their kid is doing and I am sure they will be more than happy to gloat about their children and then get in touch with them.
But don’t be sleazy by talking to people for the sole purpose of getting a job. Maintain a healthy network by keeping in touch often and also doing them a favor once in a while. It makes it easier for when you have to ask them for a favor.
A good network is essential to have. It puts you in touch with the right people. They can help you break into the “hidden job market” (which gets filled only through referrals). Referrals work better than applying for a job traditionally because there is someone from the company who is attesting your fit for the job.
Another way you can build a network that will directly help with your career is to work in a co-working space. They have become quite popular now and many startups choose to work in these spaces. You will be able to meet people who are in the field you are interested in or even get a job with the company that is using the coworking space.
A few popular one’s which you can find are:
Although there are tons of such spaces, the good/established ones will provide you with way more exposure to the ecosystem as compared to a budding/cheap co-working space. Moreover, the better ones will attract a better crowd. Isn’t that your purpose?
A career change works best when you have a mentor from the field to guide you through it. Ask them questions about what you have to do to bridge the experience gap.
STEP 3: Bridge the Experience Gap
The main challenge you face during a career change is because of your lack of experience in the field. This can be bridged by taking relevant courses or through internships. You need something to start off on. You can have a look at Coursera, Udedmy, EdX, Khan Academy which are the world’s most premiere online education portals with varied course segments with great returns. For something more niche, you can look at Code Academy (Web Development related stuff). HubSpot and QuickSprout for Marketing related courses and UpGrad for Product and Management related stuff.
An employer is always looking at how you can fulfill the role. The qualifications are not the only thing that can ensure a good fit for the job but you also have to show them that you’re passionate and willing to learn. This passion can be shown through the extensive research you do on your dream career or the company that you want to get into.
The experience you have had in the previous field need not go to complete waste. Use it to your advantage by highlighting your transferable skills. Communication, leadership, time management etc are all skills that you will need in any job. You can use these to bridge the gap.
There might be a chance that you may not even have to look outside your own company for all these things. Depending on what your company is like and what direction your career change is going towards, you can switch roles within your current company itself.
Keeping all this in mind you, I want to remind you again that a career change does not happen overnight. You have to approach it with patience and humility. Humility because at whatever position you were in the previous career will all have to be scored out. You may have to start from scratch.
When you can’t afford to quit your current job, you will have to do all the above when you’re still working your dreaded job. If this is the case, think of it as the motivation to drive you harder towards the career change, so that one day you don’t have to work that dreaded job again.