Considering a career change? It's a tempting way to shake up your job search, but is it the right thing to do?

Photo by Martin Sanchez

This is a guest post by Nisa Chitakasem.

Career changes can be overwhelming, challenging, exciting, scary, fun or frustrating-and that’s just when it comes to deciding whether to change careers in the first place.

Whether or not to change careers is a major life decision to take, so it’s important to be sure that you’re making the right decision for you.

Should you change careers?

1. Is there really a problem with your career?

In order to answer the big question, ask yourself several other questions to help decide whether you’re ready to leave your current career:

  • Is my career making me happy?
  • Am I fulfilled in my career?
  • Is this my career because I enjoy it or because of the praise/ money/peer pressure /etc.?
  • Is my career stopping me from doing things I enjoy outside of work?
  • What’s my personal definition of future success in this career?
  • Am I confident of achieving my definition of future success in this career?

🔀 10 Tips To Help You Decide On Changing Careers

2. You might need new skills

Consider whether or not you’re willing to learn new skills. Chances are if you commit to changing careers you will need to learn new skills appropriate to your career choice.

3. Can you afford it?

It’d be nice if we didn’t have to consider money when thinking about work options, but unfortunately some of us do!

Take into account where you stand financially when considering a career change, but don’t stay with your current career just for the money if the work itself is making you unhappy. No amount of money equates to happiness.

4. Maybe your job search skills just need help

If you’re currently out of work, don’t jump to the conclusion that you need a career change just because you’re not finding any work within your current field. Re-assess your job search instead:

  • Review your CV to see if it’s relevant enough to the roles you’re applying for
  • Practice your interview technique with a friend
  • Connect with your network to find out about unadvertised jobs

5. Take an honest look back

Of course, being out of work may be just the motivation you need to make a career change, if it genuinely would be the right move for you. Even if you don’t currently have a job you can still assess how happy you are in your current career area by asking yourself the above questions about your previous positions.

Career change cartoon
Cartoon by Salvatore Iovene

Which career should you change to?

6. Follow your talent and passion

Think about what career you’d like to change to by considering what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about.

🔀 10 Tips To Help You Decide On Changing Careers

7. What about you impresses others

How do you define your talents and passions?

Start right back from your childhood. What did people praise you for? What did you end up spending most of your spare time doing?

Make a list and continue recalling your strengths and hobbies alaoubl the way through to the present day.

8. Full-time?

Consider not only the content of your ideal career but also the structure of it e.g. work out if you’d like to switch from full-time to part-time, or vice-versa.

9. Know your redlines

Get clear not only on what you want to do, but also on what you don’t want to do. What are you willing to negotiate over and what are you not?

10. Focus on one new direction only

By the way, if you think trying to pursue several career options at once is a good idea, it isn’t. The scattergun approach will probably result in missing all the targets.

If you focus on one career, one target- you’re more likely to get what you want.

🔀 10 Tips To Help You Decide On Changing Careers

Question of the article

What made you consider a career change now? Tell us in the comments.

About the author

Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog or find Nisa on Twitter @PosIgnition or Facebook.

Bonus: How to find and do work you love

READ NEXT: Success Story: How A Headhunter Changed My Career (and My Life).

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more ideas on changing to the best career for you.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 14 Comments

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  2. Leslie Drew

    I think the “Can You Afford It?” part is what makes most people keep chugging along in a career they don’t like. It hard to do what you love because most times what you love doesn’t pay.

  3. Christine

    I took a part time resume writing gig into full-time career services venture by acquiring some academic training. It was scary but so worth it in the end. I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work!

    1. Jacob Share

      Good for you in persevering, Christine. Thanks for sharing. How long did your journey take from part-time gig to full-time venture?

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