Whatever your reason for considering a career change – whether for money, a lifestyle change or for your own happiness – one thing’s for sure – it’s a big step, and a daunting decision to make. With so many career options available the challenge can be in deciding what you would most like to do, as much as in making the change. These are some steps that may help you to choose the career path that’s right for you:
Identify your priorities. What is driving you to make a change? What is important for you to find in your ideal career – money, more / less responsibility, utilizing specific skills, different location, different hours? When you start to look into the myriad of opportunities and different career paths available it can get distracting, so keep in mind why you’re making the change and don’t lose sight of your goal.
Identify your capabilities, skills and interests. What do you love doing? What are you good at? What are your passions? The multitude of success stories from people who have left high flying careers to start their own business is testament to the fact that you can succeed at doing what you love if you have the right drive, determination and know how to make a go of it. Do plan carefully however as starting your own business is never easy, no matter how much you want it, so where possible try to get some work experience in the field you choose before you make any big commitments with your time and finances.
Think about how you market yourself. Whatever field you choose to focus on it’s likely, as with most areas, to be a busy marketplace with lots of people competing for a part of it. Effectively communicating your own value will be key to successfully marketing yourself to get you on the ladder to career success. NLP techniques are very useful in this area as they focus on the understanding and importance of communication and body language, and how you can subtly change both to elicit the right response from those you’d like to influence.
Research, research research! You can find a lot of career advice easily online, or you can contact a career adviser in your local area, via your Citizens Advice Bureau. While you may not know instantly what you want to do, sometimes sharing your own skills, experience and motivations will help you decide what you could be good at.
Preparation, training and work experience. Once you have a potential or definite career path in mind, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in for. Think about any courses you could or need to take to gain additional knowledge or experience. If you’re not sure or finding it difficult to get a foot in the door, could you do some short-term voluntary work or work experience to get started? Can you get advice from someone doing your dream job? This could help you identify your own strengths and potential weaknesses and how you could use or strengthen these.
Be the best you can be. Think about specific skills you need to progress in your chosen career and how you can enhance them. Techniques such as NLP modelling can be particularly useful, the premise being that by modelling someone proficiently using the skills you want to enhance – e.g. an outstanding team manager / someone excellent at giving confident presentations – you too can mould yourself into someone equally strong in this area.
With hard work, determination, lots of planning, and access to the right advice and training, there’s no reason why you can’t find the life-changing career that’s right for you. So go for it and good luck!
Pip Thomas runs Edge NLP and believes that everyone should love what they do. She runs NLP training courses to help people overcome their fear of change and limiting beliefs.