Stressed at work? Unable to build your skills? Frustrated with limited growth potential? It may be time to consider a career switch. A recent survey by Investors in People showed that 47% of the UK workforce anticipated looking for a job within the last year.1
If you find yourself lacking focus or day dreaming about a whole new career, it may be time to take a step back and consider what that would look like for you. No matter the source of your frustration, it’s easy to romanticise the idea of a fresh start at something new. Before you take the leap into a new role, it’s wise to make sure you’re acknowledging all the variables and any consequence — positive or negative — this move may have on your professional trajectory as well as loved ones who may rely on you.
Launching into a new career can be scary and intimidating, which may incite you to abandon the prospect altogether. Don’t let the fear stop you from ever starting. Instead, explore the potential for a career transition by walking through this list of things to consider.
Phase 1: While You’re at Your Current Job
- Take a break and reflect. Are the issues you’re struggling with temporary? Sometimes we let our emotions get the best of us and jump to extremes.
- Is there something that can be done to salvage your current role? Meet with your manager and explain the obstacles you experience and see if there is a way you can create a roadmap toward a solution. This way, if you do decide to move on, you can leave knowing that you’ve truly exhausted this opportunity.
- Make sure you’re leaving for the right reasons. Let’s say you want to leave your current role because you feel you’re underpaid. Moving to another job with a higher salary is the best solution, right? That next job may pay more because the work is more intensive or the hours are longer — both scenarios won’t help resolve your lack of happiness in your job.
Phase 2: Preparing for Your Job Search
- Ask yourself why you’re leaving your current role, considering all the factors that leave you frustrated and wanting. Write them down as a list and use it to help guide your search.
- Update your CV and tailor it to the job you want with these tips.
- Reach out to old mentors or former managers to collect feedback on your strengths and weaknesses. While you’re chatting, ask their permission to use them as reference if needed. It’s always polite to get them on board so if a potential employer calls it won’t catch them off guard and their feedback for you will be fresh in their minds.
- Review your finances and budgeting goals. Consider whether or not your current pay is sufficient or if your salary expectations have changed. If it’s the latter, start cataloguing evidence to support your case (specialised skills, accreditations, awards, etc.). Check Glassdoor to see what others in your area with your title earn.
Phase 3: Interviewing
- Research the business you’ll be interviewing with. Explore their social media channels for their latest company news — if the conversation hits a lull, it’s a great way to demonstrate your interest and keep the dialogue moving.
- Perform a quick search of “interview questions” and start practicing your answers. Think about concrete examples like projects you’ve completed or performance metrics that will help back your claims.
- Remember the list you wrote in Phase 2? Use it in this phase to generate questions for your interviewer concerning the areas your current job lacks. The interviewing process isn’t just about if you’re a right fit for them — it’s if they’re a proper fit for you too!
So much of our time is spent at work — our happiness in and out of the office impacts all aspects of our lives. So, what do you do when you’ve hit your limit at work? Take the time to reflect and understand the root cause of your unhappiness. If a career switch would solve it, prepare accordingly and set yourself up for success. With some self-reflection, preparation and follow through, the next career you choose can be the perfect next step.
1Investors in People. (14 May 2018). Investors in People first managing mental health report shows 80% of UK employees are stressed. Retrieved 28 March 2019, from https://www.investorsinpeople.com/investors-in-people-first-managing-mental-report-shows-80-of-uk-employees-are-stressed/
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