6. Get some work experience
There’s obviously a difference between thinking that you’re well-suited to a particular career and being well-suited to a career. The only way that you can really find out which is the case is by experiencing a typical day in the life of roles in the industry you want to move into. And that means getting work experience.
Work experience is a time-honoured tradition at UK schools – one week in a year where you get transported into a bewildered workplace to learn about what a typical 9 to 5 is like. Thankfully, work experience as an adult is a lot less awkward.
Arranging it is usually just a simple case of contacting the organisation and asking if they’d be willing to let you have a short work experience placement where you could experience what a specific role is like. Usually organisations will feel quite flattered that you want to have a placement with them: they’ll also probably be glad of the free labour too.
This article by Prospects has some great advice about how to gain work experience, with some handy tips to help the process go easier.
7. Identify the qualifications that you need
Usually when it comes to transitioning careers, you’ll find that you need to develop a new set of skills and knowledge specific to that role or industry. That means either gaining work experience or studying specialist knowledge.
Whilst it can be done, it’s often hard to break into an industry without showing some prior evidence of having done that before. This is particularly the case in today’s ultra-competitive job markets.
Studying a professional qualification is one of the most useful way to prove to employers that you have the exact blend of skills and knowledge they’re looking for – particularly if you study a widely-respected qualification from a widely-respected provider in your industry.
As a result, at this stage in your career change project, it’s best to start looking at potential qualifications that will help you transition.
For instance, here are some of the providers most in-demand professional qualifications from employers, for the most popular industries that we offer:
- Accountancy and Bookkeeping: AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians)
- Human Resources and Learning & Development: CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development)
- Corporate Governance: CGI (Chartered Governance Institute)
- IT: BCS (British Computing Society)
- Leadership and Management: ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management), CMI (Chartered Management Institute)
- Marketing: CIM (Chartered Marketing Institute)
- Procurement and Supply: CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply)
- Project Management: PRINCE2
When choosing a qualification to study, be sure that its format aligns with your own study needs. These days, courses are offered in a range of formats: from traditional, classroom-based study through to self-guided online study. Which study format you choose depends a lot on your own preferences.
Many providers (including us) focus solely on providing qualifications that you can complete entirely online, at your own pace. This provides a great level of flexibility, allowing you to balance studying for a new career with your current commitments, like a full-time job or caring responsibilities.
8. Create your career plan
When you feel like you’ve got a good handle on the situation from completing all of the previous steps, you’re probably ready to start creating a comprehensive career plan for how you can put your ideas into practice!
There’s lots of advice on the internet that does great justice to the subject, so do some desktop research and see what you can find – this blog by Indeed is particularly good!
A career plan is simply just a document that you can refer to guide you about the specific steps that you’ll need to take to achieve your dream role. It can be as comprehensive or as simple as you like. The choice is entirely down to you: as is how you use it.
Some people use their career plans as a working document and a physical reminder of the specific tasks they have to complete, in order to achieve their objective. Others use it more as a flexible roadmap to guide them along the way and keep them accountable.
Be brave and make the change!
Ultimately, the only way you’ll truly know if a career change is the right thing to do is to try it. That requires a certain degree of bravery – and of taking a calculated risk. Whilst this can obviously be scary, try to stay confident and resilient. Follow the steps we’ve outlined above and you’ll hopefully be able to tackle the process of changing career efficiently and, dare we say it, whilst having fun.
Develop your career with a professional qualification that you can study 100% online. Download your free course guide today and get started.