How to change your career – easily

How would a teacher with thirty years’ experience switch directions and open their own café, or a mental health nurse migrate into accounting?

These are such drastic career changes that they may seem too difficult to come to fruition, but with proper preparation and careful execution, you can pull off a 180 career-switch, irrespective of where you are now.

The first step is coming to believe that you are capable of achieving whatever career goal you have set out, provided that you have the willpower to match. You have probably already been successful in one industry – if so, you’ve proven your ability once before. Don’t just sail through life on autopilot, wishing you’d done something more. If you are dedicated to your cause, it is never too late to change your life in a positive way. It’s time to take action.

This guide will assist you in finding your way from one career to another. Getting there will involve leaving your comfort zone and taking a certain amount of risk, but if you focus, and avoid straying, all of this will be worth it.

Step 1: Decide on which path you would like to follow

Training yourself to accept that a career change is possible can be a challenge, as your mind may, by force of habit, revert to its old ways, and at times this can be distracting. The bigger the contrast between your old form of work and the new one you’re chasing, the more liable you are to feel overwhelmed, so take a step back from the environment and mindset you’ve grown used to and focus on what you will enjoy.

Step 2: Take stock of where you are today

Once your goal is established, map it out in relation to where you are now, and all the contributing factors. Make lists of your experiences and qualifications, your professional and personal strengths and weaknesses, and be as honest with yourself as possible, as this helps you plan realistically. Try to forget labels; when you are no longer an engineer, but a person who is a good manual worker with particular planning and design strengths, your qualities become far more transferrable.

Step 3: Find the connection

You’ve mapped out points A and B, where you are and where you’re going, so now to bridge the gap. Connections between one and the other won’t always be obvious. If a bank boss wants to become a counsellor, their managerial skills in staff training and communication will be an obvious link, whereas an admin assistant may have to rely more on their capacity for information and face-to-face demeanour. The links between your starting point and destination can be official qualifications, or just natural tendencies you feel you possess.

Step 4: Identify what actions you can take now and go for it

This final step always separates the doers from the dreamers. Once you have mapped your way from A to B, keep that goal squarely within your sights and go. Don’t give up, don’t get distracted and don’t abandon it. If you have useful contacts, try them. If not, try some networking and get to know relevant people. Make it known the direction you are taking in life, and try every opportunity.

You can always fall back on the strength of your determination to keep you going. If the goal is really worth having, then don’t stop working for it.

About the Author:

Buchi Onwugbonu has more than 10 years’ experience in leadership roles for large corporates, SMEs and public service organisations. He has held senior roles in finance, consulting, operations and commercial, globally, working at companies including British Airways, Technicolor and Accenture. He is currently a Managing Director in the Telecoms and Technology sector. Buchi has a passion for helping people develop their careers and actively mentors aspiring leaders around the globe. He maintains the fundamental belief that you can take your career anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to put in the work and successfully changed his own career path on numerous occasions.  You can find a copy of Jump! here:

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