Ready for a career do-over? How to change your job – while you still have a job

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Feeling burnt out and uninspired? Desperately bored at work? Jealous of your friends’ jobs? Then it sounds like you might be ready for a career change.

But, wait – how can you expect an employer to hire a candidate who works in completely separate industry? And how are you meant to quit your job and retrain when you have financial responsibilities?

The answer is, don’t quit. Well, not yet anyway.

Do your homework: Speak to as many people in the industry as you can – ask them what pitfalls to avoid and what skill sets they look for in hiring a new candidate

Because if you’re determined to make the change and put in the work to do so, there are a few clever ways to change your job – while you still have a job.

BUILD UP YOUR NETWORK

If you are thinking about changing careers, you need to do your homework.

Find out what the entry level salary is, not just the average salary so that you have realistic expectations and can plan for the transition.

You can research this sort of information online, but it’s also a good idea to speak to people who are in the industry you are hoping to move into.

Expanding your network will not only help you get a clear idea of what a potential new career will involve, but you’ll be in a far better position to hear about job openings and opportunities.

Talk to as many people as you can, don’t be afraid to reach out and call people and ask them about the role and what it takes to be successful in the role.

Ask them what pitfalls to avoid and what skill sets they look for in hiring a new candidate.

STUDY PART-TIME

It can be all too easy to claim that you simply don’t have the time to devote to studying for a new degree or further qualifications.

But with many universities and colleges offering part-time degree programs that you can fit around your own schedule, it is possible to further your education while remaining in full-time work.

Get hands-on: Look out for opportunities to volunteer or intern in the field you’re hoping to break into

This gives students the flexibility to combine studying for an MBA, for example, at a recognized and accredited institution with other commitments such as work and childcare.

That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. Studying while also working requires time management and dedication, but if you’re committed to changing your career it can be a good route to gaining the skills required.

BRUSH UP YOUR SKILLS

The only way you can be sure that a job is right for you is by being actively involved in that industry – which can be pretty tough if you’re already working full-time in an unrelated field.

However, you can utilize any spare time during evenings, weekends and holidays gaining hands-on experience by looking out for work experience opportunities.

If possible, volunteer or sign up for internships that may give you an opportunity to see if the job is right for you.

For example, if you want to go into law, perhaps you can intern at a non-profit advocacy organization.

If you are interested in healthcare, there are plenty of organizations that could use your help and you can connect with people who are in the industry.

GET SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY

If you’re not already clued up on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn now’s the time to do so, as social media can be a valuable resource for those planning to ‘do over’ their career.

Social media savvy is an expectation these days.

Keep connected: Use social media to meet those already working in the industry. LinkedIn and Twitter can be valuable resources when looking to ‘do over’ your career.

Use LinkedIn as a way to meet and connect with other leaders and recruiters in the industry, or follow people in the company or industry you are interested in on Twitter.

But even as you strive towards your new employment, it’s important not to neglect your existing job – especially if you need to support yourself as you make a career change.

What’s more, there may even be potential for a role change or advancement where you are.

Remember to stay focused on your current role and don’t let things fall behind. You never know if a new opportunity may present itself within your existing organization.

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