Changing your career

There may come a time - and you will know it - when you begin feeling that you need a change of some sort. You may want to shift sector; for example, if you've worked in the media as a PA and you wanted to move on to give something back to the community, it may be possible to move across to charity or public sector roles if you plot your path carefully and show commitment to relevant voluntary organisations in your spare time. But be sure: is it the job that needs tweaking and fine-tuning, or do you need a complete change?

By Sally Longson

It's more possible to change career now than ever before, as more and more employers are looking to recruit the best person for the job and are prepared to look outside their traditional remits. So here are some questions to ask yourself if you're thinking about a change of career.

Ask yourself:

  • Am I veering towards any particular career?
    What's driving me towards it?
  • Which particular group of people do I want to work with?
    Where will I find them?
  • What motivates me at work?
    What sorts or organisation fulfil that motivation?
  • What do I want to achieve on the job?
    What impact do I want my work to have?
  • What sort of outcomes tell me that I've done a great job?
    Are we talking profits, helping individuals, creating strategy? What?
  • What knowledge do I want to use?
    Which sectors use it as well?
  • Can I turn my hobby, skills or a voluntary interest I have into a career?
    Where would my markets be? How much would I charge?
  • What sort of qualities do I want to use at work?
    Which careers and sectors call for the qualities I have?
  • How much people contact do I want to have?
    Am I going to spend lots of time with people?or should I go and live a life as a hermit?
  • What job related skills do I want to use?
    Which jobs need them?
  • How much training am I prepared to do for a new career?
    Am I looking at something which is just going to pay the bills? Or something I can really get my teeth into and train for over a number of years?
  • What relationship do I want to have with an employer?
    Permanent? Temporary? Contract worker? Portfolio worker? Or shall I run my own business and dictate my terms?
  • What sort of lifestyle do I want to live?
    Do I want to be on call, working 24 hours a day? Travelling everywhere at a moment's whim? Or do I want to be able to plan my evenings with a certain degree of certainty?
  • Why do I work? If I won a Lottery tomorrow, how would I want to fill my day? You can say, of course, that you'd travel the world on your lottery winnings. But you can't do that for ever.
    Do I work for the companionship? The challenge? Respect? Money? Fun? Love of it? Making things happen? Anything else?
  • Do I want to help solve a national problem, such as homelessness, alcoholism or unemployment in my efforts? Or do I see myself in commerce, in the business world?
Further reading & interactive tools:

If you’re plotting a course for your career, preparing for your annual review or seeking a new job check out the following features:-

Current Role:
Study Your Organisation
Take stock of how your role has expanded
The annual review
Making your annual review work for you
Where are you now
Your reputation

Preparing for a new role:
Focus on your future career
Making transferable skills work for you
My next move
Moving On
How to get the most out of career events

Share this page with your friends


Share this page with your friends.