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8 Steps to a Successful Career U-Turn

At some point during your working life, there may come a point that you simply don’t want to continue down your current path. Perhaps you are looking to pursue a childhood dream or follow a passion that you have developed over the past few years. Whatever the case, performing a successful career u-turn can be a tricky manoeuvre. After all, you are starting from scratch and leaping into the unknown. To help you make this process seem a little less daunting, we are going to provide you with a step by step guide to making the switch.

Start Off by Defining ‘Why’

Just because you are unhappy in your current job role, it doesn’t mean that you need to take the first opportunity that presents itself. You need to get the reasons why you want to change jobs clearly in your mind before you take the next step. Ask yourself a few key questions. Why do you want to change jobs? How do you envisage the new career changing your life? What are the risks that you are taking? It is very easy to get swept away by the romantic notion of your new job, but you need to consider all the practical implications as well.

Now, Look at ‘What’

Do you only have a general idea of the career path you want to go down or do you know the specific job role that you want to pursue? Importantly, do you have any transferable skills that will come in handy or connections in the field? If you have to start from the bottom, are you in a position to accept the pay cut and change of lifestyle? Again, this is all about considering your situation from a practical point of view so you don’t let your imagination get away from you.

What Do You Need?

There are likely to be some qualifications that you need or training courses that you need to complete to advance in your chosen field. Say you are looking to get into the world of food service, you may well need to obtain If you only need to take an online course or obtain basic proficiency in your chosen field, then this shouldn’t present too many difficulties. However, for some career paths, you are going to need more than this. Look at your life situation and ask if you will need to get support with child care, finances or other activities. Getting the support of your family is an essential part of making a successful career change.

Create a Plan of Action

After you have gone through the three points above in more detail, hopefully, you now feel more comfortable and ready to make a plan of action. Think about the overall goal that you are trying achieve and break this down as much as possible. Make sure that you attach timeframes to everything. Otherwise, your goals could end up drifting on indefinitely. Perhaps there are certain skills that you need to acquire, contacts that you need to make or personal changes that you need to make. Small steps tend to help you gather momentum over time until your long-term goal gradually comes more into focus and actually seems to be a realistic possibility.

Sustain the Momentum

Once you have started the ball rolling, you need to keep this momentum moving in the right direction. Keep a close eye on what you are doing and the steps that you need to take next. As we discussed above, you need to put clear deadlines on what you are trying to achieve as this will help you to stay on track. You could make a simple Excel spreadsheet or else write everything in a notebook if you prefer to do things this old fashioned way.

Redefine Your Professional Brand

For a long time, your professional brand will have been geared towards your previous job role. Now, you need to redefine it to suit the new path that you are going down. This means adjusting your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters and anything else that make sense for potential employers. You need to consider how you are going to make yourself stand out from people who have been in the field for a long period of time. Your previous job roles will more than likely have provided you with some transferable skills, and you simply need to work out what these are and how you can make yourself seem like an attractive prospect.

Get Help from Others

Even an obscure connection can be beneficial, and so much of the working world is based on who you know. So, start putting the word out that you are looking for a new job role amongst your immediate circle of friends and other connections. You never know who may come up with a key contact in the field. Remember, getting started in a new career sector is very challenging, so you need to be ready to leverage any advantages as and when you find them.

Be Prepared to Put in the Leg-Work

It is highly unlikely that you are going to be catapulted straight to the top of your chosen career, so you need to be prepared to put in a lot of hard work. If this means starting at the bottom once again, you should see this as worth doing if you are making inroads into your dream job. Often, employers are willing to take a chance on employees who are willing to work hard and progress ahead of those who have become jaded and are simply turning up at work every day.

It is likely that you will need to make sacrifices in order to achieve your goals, so you need to ask yourself just how important a career u-turn is to you. Fear stops a lot of people entering a new career path, but if you feel like you want a change, you need to be prepared to take that risk.

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