Know what career you want to enter into next but don't know how do you realise your dream? Make sure that you are ready to turn this into reality by asking yourself whether anything is going to get in the way of realising your ambitions. You need to ask yourself:
- Do your skills, experience and qualifications match up with what the job market requires or do you fall short in some areas?
- What systems do you need to put into place to monitor your progress? How are you going to keep a check on whether your project is going to plan or not?
- What paths are open to you and which one are you going to choose?
Job Market Requirements
Our unique career road-mapping tool, iShine, helps you understand what skills, abilities and knowledge you have and how this matches up to the career you're interested in and it is a great place to start. What are you missing? Is it complete sections of knowledge, or just a few small areas where you need to give yourself a boost? How long is it going to take you to make sure you are up to the standard needed for employers?
How are you going to obtain the skills and qualifications needed when working in completely different field? Some suggestions could be:
- a home study course where you send off for the materials
- an online course
- work experience, by taking on projects in your current work or taking on something outside of work such as volunteering
Checking your progress
Why do you need to check your progress?
- Career aspirations tend to drift over time and since, with a complete change of career, you could be talking about fairly substantial period, you need to have some way of making sure you are still on course to achieve what you set out to.
- A financial plan will have originally been put together based on certain assumptions e.g. the level to which earnings would be reduced and how long would it be before you got back to the level of salary you previously enjoyed. However, you still need to check from time to time whether your assumptions are still correct.
- In the process of changing career you are likely to be relying more heavily on family and friends. It's good to keep them in the picture and update them of your progress.
Draft your career change proposal
A career change proposal is important to get down in writing because you know what you've got to achieve and gives your career change a sense of importance every time you see the plan. It's also a great way to help you set yourself mini goals to work towards so that your overall aim can be achieved when you want it to. You can see some of the steps you've taken being ticked off which can fire you up for the rest of your career change.
With your proposal you need a clear objective over a specific time period. For example, I would like to become a counsellor. Within two years I would like to gain my counselling qualifications and within five years I would like to achieve a similar sum of money to the amount I do currently. This is because you've got something concrete to work towards and are less likely to get side tracked in reaching your ultimate goal.
Your proposal might take into account a number of factors including:
- how long you might have to train
- how long it will take you to find a job
- how long you think you'll need to build up your experience to get to where you want to be
As discussed in What risks are involved in changing careers? one of the things you need to think about is how much less money you'll have when changing career and how much extra money you might need to e.g. learn a new skill. This also needs to be recorded, alongside where the money will come from and when you'll need to use it.
Track your career change progress
With a career change proposal you'll have yardstick for measuring how project is going. You'll be able to tell whether:
- Finding the job you want is taking too long
- You're overspending
- Your aims have changed from what you sort originally
- Your not achieving the skills and qualifications you need
With this information in place you'll be able to mkae sure that you are on track and make changes if you are not.