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It happens to the best of us; we get stuck in a career path that is directly related to the first job we managed to land, but it’s far from what we’ve dreamed for ourselves. Just because that first job opened up a career path for you, does not mean that you cannot jump tracks. There are so many ways to make a big career change.
Making this change isn’t just something you should do because it pays more, but rather because it suits you more. Being passionate about what you do, or at least the field that you work in, is so important for your mental health and sense of fulfillment.
Despite common belief, changing careers is not the same as starting from scratch. There are so many ways that you can build on what you already have, and use that to propel yourself forward in your new career:
The Two Main Ways to Make a Big Career Change
When it comes to making a big career change you have two general paths in front of you. How that path looks, specifically, will vary from person to person, but the overall strategies are either to:
Find Your Existing Job in a New Field
The easiest way to make a career change is to not change roles, but the industry that you work for. If you are an event planner who has been planning corporate events, but wants to get involved with charity galas, or weddings, the change is going to be relatively straightforward.
You will want to build your network, try to create a portfolio that shows how your skills translate to this new field, but otherwise you should have all the training and experience necessary to make the switch.
Retrain Yourself for a New Role
Retraining yourself requires far more effort, but if it is what you want to do, it is the best way to feel fulfilled and rewarded in your efforts. Retraining can look like many different things, and ultimately it boils down to what type of role you want to get involved in.
If the role you want to get started with involves a license, your roadmap will be very, very clear. If it doesn’t, gaining knowledge and building skills with formal education can be the best option, as it opens a whole new world of possibilities for your career.
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How to Get the Necessary Qualifications for Retraining
Every job needs you to be qualified for it, but how you get those qualifications does not always need to be through your career. Not only that, but many of the skills and tasks your new job role will require are generally universal.
If you were a project manager at a marketing company, then you will have a lot of the skills already to manage a project in an engineering company, though not all.
There are many ways that you can get the qualifications you need, but if what you lack isn’t practical skill, but academic knowledge, the best way to transition your career is with a degree.
You don’t need to start from scratch, either. In many instances you can redirect your career with a masters in the field you want to get involved in.
This top MA Education distance learning programme, from one of the top universities in the world, only requires a 2:1 in any subject, or a 2:2 with relevant work experience.
If you are looking for a massive transition, these types of degrees that act like full educational experiences in and of themselves are a great way to do it.
Where this isn’t an easy option, you can either take foundation courses, use your existing credits to help you speed through an undergraduate degree, and so on. Short courses, online courses, and more are also all available to help you become an expert in the field.
Tips to Expand Your Network
In every job, building your network is important. It’s how you will be in the know for new and interesting job opportunities. It is also how you will integrate yourself into that community.
The field you work in is a community like any other, and the only way you can move forward is by being an active member of that community.
Use Social Media to Engage with Your Network
Thanks to social media job sites like LinkedIn, Pikdo, it’s actually easier to network than it was before. You can connect online and engage in a passive way that feels more natural and organic.
Networking isn’t just about introducing yourself, it’s about fostering relationships. You can do this easily, without coming across as too pushy, by helping others and engaging with posts and even creating posts for others to engage with.
People are much happier to engage and get to know others slowly online, as there isn’t the immediacy that comes with face-to-face conversations.
This doesn’t mean that face-to-face conversations have no place. They can be great ways to make excellent first impressions and is definitely how you can stand out.
But by mixing these in-person networking events with online networking you can come across as confident, and slowly build a thriving network of people who know you, believe in your expertise, and are willing to work with you or otherwise help you.
Help, and Ask for Help
Career social sites are very active with people asking questions, making posts, questionnaires, and so on. While a lot can come across as performative, engaging with these posts and offering your help is a great way to connect with the person behind the screen. The same goes for you – don’t be afraid to ask for help!
You can even get started with your new career by working on a personal project and can even collaborate with others in your situation that want to show off what they can do, even before a company gives them a chance.
There are so many ways to make opportunities for yourself, but to do that you need to work with others. Help, and ask for help, and your network will have your back.