Essential questions you need to ask yourself before making a career change

Written by Calvin Bowers
Last updated August 11, 2020

So, just like 47% of working age people in the UK, you’ve decided your current career is no longer fulfilling. A career switch is the goal, but what do you need to consider to get there? Although the rewards can be astronomical, changing careers is no simple feat and requires a considerable amount of research to make sure it is right for you.

Here are the five key questions to ask yourself before you make the jump:

How long do you want to spend training before you switch?

There are plenty of careers out there that will value your transferrable skills and work experience, so they will just retrain you on-the-job. However, the willingness and financial ability to take some time off to undergo off-the-job training expands your options exponentially. If you are willing to train but are not sure if you can afford it, try looking into part time or online courses that you could take while you continue to work in your current field.

If you are considering retraining and want more information, you should read our complete guide on how to retrain.

What salary are you looking for?

Obviously, the higher the salary you are looking for the fewer options you will have. However, if you have the ability to undergo training, there is no reason to think you can’t make the switch into a higher paid field. If not, try considering a field that is less saturated with employees so moving up the career ladder could be quicker and easier.

Part of this question is considering whether you can take a pay cut for a few years for the potential to earn higher salaries in the future. If your perfect career would require a temporary pay cut, try and consider whether you can save for a few years within your current career to help cover that transition deficit.

Does your desired career offer apprenticeships?

If the answer to this is yes, you can wave any worries over the first two questions goodbye. Apprenticeships have evolved considerably over recent years, such that you can even attain masters and PhD qualifications from them.

Although apprenticeships can sometimes offer lower salaries because you will spend at least 20% of your work hours in off-the-job training, a good company will recognise your apprenticeship as an investment and pay you a normal wage. Apprenticeships have become incredibly flexible and due to the rapidly changing economy have been recognised as essential for companies to continue to plug the ever-growing skill gaps within their business.

Becoming an apprentice could see you retrain for your perfect career whilst earning the whole time. For those interested in finding out more about adult apprenticeships, check out our dedicated site for all things related to apprenticeships and technical education, Employ an Apprentice.

Are the hours flexible?

Just like hundreds of thousands of other adults whose career options may be restricted by other responsibilities, such as having young children, the transition into a strict regimented number of hours can seem impossible. However, you would be surprised at the large number of careers that are flexible or are becoming more adaptable every year.

After the recent coronavirus lockdown, tens of thousands of employers have realised the benefits of remote working. This means you could find a position which is deadline-based, meaning you could complete the hours according to your availability and not according to a strict 9-5 regiment.

Do you know an experienced professional within the field to ask for guidance?

With businesses changing rapidly every year, some of these questions may only be able to be answered by someone who is living and working within the field. Having a source of reliable information on the other side of the fence can be integral to reassuring you a career is the perfect fit for you. If you are considering contacting someone in your locality for more information or guidance, you should go to our Finding Help In Your Area page.

Last Updated: Friday January 8 2021
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