You probably need a career change if you’re in a constant state of burnout or under-stimulated by your job, but you’re probably afraid to make the transition because you want long-term employment that gives you a steady source of income. But is the salary really worth the misery you feel every day? Wouldn’t you want to do something that you’re passionate and excited about? If fear is all that’s stopping you, here are four steps to a successful career change:
1. Determine your most valuable interests and skills.
Stress and burnout are normal in any profession. But when you’re doing a job that doesn’t match your interests and skills, stress and burnout can become chronic, which can then lead to serious mental and physical illnesses like depression and cardiovascular diseases.
So take a moment to determine your most valuable interests and skills. Ask yourself these four questions: What are your strengths? What are you naturally good at? What talents do you have? What are you passionate about?
2. Find alternative careers that match your interests and skills.
When you’ve identified your most valuable interests and skills, you should find a career that matches them. There are free online tools (like these skills matcher and interest assessment tests) that will help you find the best career for you.
You should cross-reference the results of these tests with your qualifications as well. Unless you’re planning to transition into self-employment, job employers will look into your past work experiences, certifications, and training.
3. Choose three career options and do your research.
Narrow down your options to three career opportunities. Then do some research on what these jobs entail and what qualifications you need to increase your chances of success. You may also want to talk to professionals who work in these industries so you can have a better idea of what you’ll be doing should you make the change. This allows you to manage your expectations and prepare for the transition.
4. Prepare for the transition.
Speaking of transition, don’t quit your current job immediately. You may be eager to start a new career after finding one that really suits your interests and skills, but you need to prepare, so you don’t get overwhelmed. Here are three things that you need to set up before you leave your current job:
- Update your curriculum vitae or résumé to include new certifications or experiences that you think apply to the new career you’re trying to enter.
- Get private health insurance so you can be covered during the transitional phase. When you leave your current job, you also forego the benefits that it comes with. In case of a medical emergency, you want to have private health insurance to avoid financial problems until you find a steady source of income again.
- Prepare a contingency fund. It should be able to cover at least six months of basic necessities and bills so you won’t have to dip into your savings.
Once you’ve determined your interests and skills, found a career match, chose career options, and prepared for the transition, you’re ready to take the leap. As a last piece of advice: Be confident in your abilities and you’ll eventually land your dream career!