Steps to a successful career change

If you are at the point where you are convinced that a career change is imminent, you are probably at the research stage, where you have to consider your options to determine which actions to take, among other things. Indeed, having a key understanding of what to do and when to do it is one of the basic steps that determine how to be successful in any venture, and since career change is a big decision, it follows proper planning to forestall any unpleasantness.

Discussions and comments on review platforms like indicate that people change their careers for a variety of reasons, including better remuneration, loss of interest in one field of experience, needing a better work-life balance, and even wanting a new challenge, or becoming passionate about a new field entirely.

What are the steps to making a career change successfully?

  • The very first step is to determine what the change entails. Some people stop their 9 to 5 jobs to go into business; some change from artisanship or blue-collar jobs to white-collar jobs; some people switch between professional fields of study, while others leave all they know to learn the workings of their new interests afresh. Once you are able to identify what exactly the change is, you will find that the fear and uncertainty that often comes with making such a monumental change diminishes.
  • Check out the options available, and that are in line with your qualifications. By qualifications, we mean skillset, knowledge, academic certificates, etc. This also means that you truthfully evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to determine which strengths to flaunt in your job hunt, and what weaknesses to improve upon.
  • The above evaluation will show you if you need to take some online courses or take an apprenticeship/internship, or any other things you need to do to bridge the knowledge gap between where you are and where you want to be. Note that a new job in the same industry will make for an easier career change, in most instances, than in a different industry.
  • You can also set up an opportunity to perform in the capacity you want to move into for a while. This will provide firsthand experience to see if you find the job to your liking. You can volunteer or shadow-study the profession if you have such an opportunity. Doing this will, however, might only work for people that are in-between jobs and/or have the time/ opportunity to explore.
  • Before you take the final plunge, have a career master plan. Where do you see yourself in the next five years in this new career? What is the career progression like? Write down your long-term goals in your new field, then break them down into actionable, short-term goals. This way, you are not likely to become easily discouraged or confused as you tick the boxes on your checklist. This will also help you keep focused in your new field.

 There is no foolproof blueprint for making a career change. Some people get lucky and find their niche easily. Others have to stumble across jobs and different fields before they settle. The above-highlighted steps should however turn the seemingly insurmountable hurdles into reality.