Careers, unlike jobs, are never easy to change.
Is there any difference? You may ask. Yes, there is, even though both terms continue to be used interchangeably.
A job, in simple terms, is a task or a piece of work that is paid for. The main goal at a job is to do as demanded, get the task done, and get paid. A career, on the other hand, is a chosen profession that you enjoy. It is a lifelong ambition with the aim to learn required skills, gain experience, and establish connections and relationships that will result in personal development and progression, and ultimately success.
With that being said, a lot of factors need to be considered in order to ensure that the transition to a different career is as seamless as possible.
The sad situation of the Nigerian university system is such that most undergraduates gain admission to study a course they did not choose, and they go into career fields that they did not plan or study for. They start work and find that it is a career they do not like and decide that they are not really cut out for it.
In essence, it feels like a job, and not a career.
So how do you determine what career is right for you and make the career switch?
Here are some steps to take that can help to make your career change successful.
Find Out If A Career Change is Really Necessary
Before you start changing careers, you need to be truthful and realistic with yourself about it. It may just be that you need to change an aspect of your job role or the work environment or maybe you are not giving the job your best for reasons outside of the job itself. Either way, you need to ascertain ‘why’ you want the career change and if there are easier ways to manage those issues.
Conduct a Self Assessment
If you have settled on a career change, you need to conduct a self-audit. A self-audit or assessment is a review of yourself – your personality, values, work ethics, interests, hobbies, strengths and weaknesses in order to determine the types of career interests you may have. A more focused approach is to take a career test, which can help to generate a list of jobs that are suitable to you based on questions on your personality, values, work ethics, interests, strengths and weaknesses and so on. From here, you may find some interesting career options from the categories your responses are based on.
Write a List of Possible Occupations to Consider
Following your assessment, you should have a list of possible careers for consideration. These career options can either be from the career test you have taken, jobs that have been of interest or are appealing to you or a hobby or activity you may be involved in during your personal time. Depending on the number of options you have on your list, try to shorten it to three and six careers.
You also need to research the professions you have shortlisted, finding out the job requirements including education and experience, career advancement opportunities, and even salary projections.
Conduct Informational Interviews
As you have now narrowed down your list, you need to get deeper knowledge of the professions and what they entail. Your best source of information is from people who are currently in those job fields or have prior significant experience of such professions. You need to get access to such people and discuss extensively with them about those careers.
Set Career Targets
Once you have been able to narrow down your choice, you need to set some career targets you want to achieve in the pursuit of the new career path. These goals and targets will help you to pace your career development, track your progress and facilitating your career growth.
Determine Your Transferable Skills
Even though you are have made your decision to leave one career type for another, there may be skills that you learned and honed from the previous job, which are also required and relevant for the new career you are going for. It is good to note these relevant skills down and include and highlight them in your resume for your job search.
Being a new area that you may have little or no experience in, it is very important for you to identify skills that you may be lacking that are important in your new career path. Once they are identified, it is necessary to get the necessary training to help to develop these skills. This may take different forms, including earning a degree and taking courses. If you have constraints in taking up these forms of training, you can opt for no-cost training, if you volunteer to participate in roles, on your current job. This can help build the skill set for the kind of career path planned out.
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