How to Make a Career Change When You Don’t Know What to Do

So, you’ve identified the fact that you need a career change. Good for you, to get to this point it takes a lot of soul-searching and plenty of guts.

The problem many people face when they get to this stage is not knowing where to go or what to do.

Changing careers can be daunting and let’s face it, downright confusing – but never fear, we’re here to help you with your journey.

Keep calm and don’t criticise yourself
As Jeff Rich, drummer of Status Quo says, “you have to believe in yourself.” It’s true.

At this point, you may be berating yourself for not knowing what to do next, and your inner critic is probably invading your thoughts daily. But remember, don’t panic, don’t forget where your true talents lie, and for goodness sake, don’t compare yourself to others. Take a step back, take a day off, clear your head, and think about the things that make you feel most passionate. You’re sure to find the positive headspace and inspiration you need to make those all-important decisions.

Share your quest with others
No man or woman is an island.

Rather than hitting up the recruitment agents and bombarding people with a fresh resume, talk to others that you care for and respect. Tell them about your current situation including the reasons for wanting to leave your current job as well as your interests, aspirations, dreams, goals, or anything else you might think is remotely related. By communicating with loved ones, you will not only release some of your personal burdens, but you’ll also be surprised on the invaluable insights, advice, and possible contacts you might receive.

Don’t think, do
According to recent medical research, being proactive is vital for your health.

Once you’ve taken some time to take stock, communicated with friends and family, and gained a clearer understanding of the path you might want to take, it’s only natural to want to pace around your lounge analysing everything. Don’t. You’ll drive yourself mad. At this point, what you really want to do is act. Rather than thinking, thinking, thinking, be impulsive and test the waters by dipping your toe into short courses, voluntary placements, or anything else that bears any relevance to what you might want to do. If you think you might want to become a journalist but you’re not sure, start writing articles on subjects you care about, and learn about AP style; if you feel you could be great as a swimming coach, enrol in a foundation course, and so on. Variety is the spice of life, so try things and see what sticks. Try offering your spare time to a business you have an interest in – remember, you still have the security of your current job in the meantime.

Look at the bigger picture
It’s easy to focus on the foreground, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

By now you probably have an inkling of what you might want to do next. Now, before you plan your attack, think about the potential career path you’re going to take and how it will affect your life as a whole. Will the industry culture, nature of the work, and hours suit your lifestyle? Is it something you can see yourself committing to for the long haul? Will it fit interfere with your personal life? Ask these questions and if you feel still confident, get out there and make it happen.

Changing careers isn’t something to take lightly, but by taking your time, communicating with others, being proactive, and asking yourself the right questions, you’ll connect with your dream job in no time.

Keep your eyes peeled for our step by step guide to making your career change.