What to do if you would like a career change but don’t know what you want?
Photo by Ben White
Getting to the point where you know you’re ready for a career change is a big step, so congratulations on getting this far! But what if you simply don’t know what you want to do next and how you should take your career forward?
It is a common problem faced when you reach this all important career crossroads in your life. You know you need to take a new path, but with so many options available, it’s easy to get confused and stressed about making the wrong decision. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in exactly the same position in a year’s time, especially if you’ve taken a pay cut or made other sacrifices in order to make a career change.
If you are ready to take the leap but still don’t know what to do you next, you have a few options available:
- Stay put but start searching – sometimes simply knowing that you are taking steps to change your career is enough to make your current job bearable as you search for new opportunities. Start looking around on LinkedIn or other job sites to see what kind of jobs are out there and what sparks your interest. Sometimes looking at potential jobs with a completely open mind as to the role, sector or job title is the best way to seek out vacancies which are totally different to what you may have automatically searched for in the past.
- Stay put but start side-hustling – If you have a few ideas about areas you’d be interested in, why not try to get some work experience outside of your current job to see if it’s a good fit for you? You could enquire with relevant organisations about freelancing opportunities or even volunteer your services if you are keen to get some practical experience in a new area. Experimenting with roles like this is a great way to test the waters before you make the decision to hand in your notice and embark on a completely new path.
- Seek out some career coaching – Sometimes talking through your options with a career coach can be the best way to discover what kind of career would truly help you shine. Career coaches are skilled in helping you to pinpoint areas of interest and skills which you could develop in a new role. They are completely removed from your personal situation and can look at things objectively, without being influenced by the external pressures you might be facing from employers, peers, family or friends.
- Just take a leap of faith! – Some people find that if they don’t make a snap decision and leave their current role, they’ll just keep procrastinating and finding excuses not to leave. For some, they need the certainty of calling time on their job as a way of motivating them to push forward and actively look for their next career move. Not everyone has the financial resources to be able to take time out from work without a job to go to, but if you are fortunate enough to be in this position, it can be extremely beneficial to take some time out to really think about how you’d like to move forward, without any pressure to make a decision out of fear or panic over how you’ll pay the mortgage next month.
In summary, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to making a career change. For some it will be crystal clear but for others, it will take some effort to finally find their true calling. Wherever you are in your career change journey, try to ensure that you aren’t simply standing still, but are taking active steps to move towards a new direction, even if they are small steps. As long as you are moving, it’s all progress!
If you need some help finding a new career direction, why not get in touch?