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Many graduates are likely to change careers a number of times over their working lives. Changing careers can be a positive experience, but one which may also be a little daunting...
Should I change careers?
To answer this question takes careful thought. Consider the following when trying to make your decision:
- What are the factors that have made you start thinking about changing careers?
- Are any of those factors likely to change?
- Could you change any of them within your current role?
- What do you hope to find in your new career?
- Have you done some research or spoken to people to check your ideas are realistic?
- Have you spent any time shadowing someone in the career you're thinking of moving to?
- If you did change career, what would you miss from your old one?
- What are the most important things for you to have in a career?
To help you make your decision, try the Changing Careers Questionnaire
, or for more advice, check out A Career Change
How do I get into a new career?
- Before a career change, make sure you give yourself time to research, and think deeply about what motivates you and makes you satisfied in a job.
- Use what jobs would suit me to find job roles that match your interests and motivations.
- Once you have a shortlist of some ideas, read up on them and/or contact those working in those roles to learn more about them. (For more advice, see networking.)
- Consider the impact of any additional training and qualifications you may need. Is there scope to retrain alongside your current role if you need to?
If you feel ready to start applying for roles, be aware that you will need to show a prospective employer evidence of genuine reasons for your career change and your interest in their field, as well as highlighting the transferability of what you've done so far. For more advice on tailoring your applications to showcase your suitability, see CVs and cover letters.
I've been made redundant - what do I do?
Redundancy can be difficult to manage, but it can also be an opportunity to reassess what you want out of a job and career, and take control of getting it. This could mean:
- applying for a new role;
- a career change;
- freelance or self-employed work;
- developing a portfolio career (made up of different jobs);
- an opportunity to retrain or take a career break.
Set goals and milestones for the time ahead and seek help if you need to. Many university careers services support alumni for some time after their degree (a few even for life), and if things are difficult, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
, local Citizens Advice Bureau
or your trade union might be able to help.
How can I make the most of my current job?
If your current role is not satisfying you, there are often things you can do to help.
- Try to pin down exactly why things aren't ideal - perhaps you don't have enough control over your work, don't have opportunities to grow, or feel overworked?
- Consider solutions that might help address these areas - from small things that you can do yourself through to training, staffing changes, secondments or a shift in workloads within your team.
- Network with colleagues outside of your team - it might be you can learn from other teams to suggest improvements, innovations, collaborations or secondments.
- Arrange a time to talk with your line manager. Rather than just listing problems, suggest some solutions and describe the feasibility and benefits of these changes. Describe the situation positively by highlighting why you're particularly keen on developing within the organisation.
- Negotiate any major changes, such as a change to your working hours, conditions, or pay, calmly and politely, based on evidence and showing the benefit to you, your work, and the organisation.
- Consider life outside of work - it might be the satisfaction you seek can come from another area of your life.