Five steps for a successful career change image

Identify your career goals and make an action plan. - Contributed

Ready for a career change, but not sure how to make the leap?

Here are five essential steps you should consider before moving forward.

1. Decide what you want. Take the time to consider your needs, motivations and interests before deciding which path you want to follow. Are you looking for a less stressful career, one that provides more independence or maybe a better balance between work and your personal life? You can always meet with a career counsellor if you’re having trouble deciding.

2. Assess yourself. Write down your skills, interests, values, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Better understanding yourself will go a long way in finding a career that’s right for you.

3. Evaluate your options. Research the salary, working conditions, long-term prospects, benefits and current opportunities of the careers you find interesting. Determine the time and money you’ll have to invest and sacrifices you’ll need to make. Certain careers might require more of your personal time or additional education. Getting to know the profession or trade beforehand (i.e. through volunteering or an internship) will also help the decision-making process.

4. Have a plan. Create a detailed action plan to map out the steps you’ll need to take. Identify your main goals while taking your financial and educational needs into account. Determine if you’ll need to work weekends while at school, or how you’ll balance family, work and school life.

5. Get help. You’ll need the support of your family and friends to achieve your goals, so be sure to share you career aspirations with those closest to you. Moreover, your decisions might disrupt your family and social life, so it’s best to keep loved ones well-informed. Don’t forget to look into various financial aid options along the way. Loans, bursaries and start-up grants can be extremely helpful when changing careers.

Making a career change can be a big investment, both in time and money. And as with any investment, you’ll want to make the best-informed decision possible. By being organized and thorough in your planning, you’ll help to ensure that your professional transition is a smooth and successful one.

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