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Are you on career suicide watch?

Top five tips on managing a successful career change

by Jane Barrett, author of 'If Not Now, When? How to Take Charge of your Career'

Jane Barrett

September 14 2010 - Back from summer holidays, nights drawing in and you're dragging yourself back to work. It's no wonder September and January ('how can I face another year doing this!') are the main times people consider changing career. So how do you avoid being on career suicide watch?

  1. Know yourself and what you want

    One of the most important steps is to spend time working out what you really want and what you have to offer. Completing a 'career assessment' is your foundation so it needs to be thorough to avoid spending time and money moving into something that doesn't suit you. An assessment should cover your skills, values and other areas that are unique to you (income expectations, location, etc).

  2. Research options against your criteria

    With the information from step one you can draw up an 'evaluation matrix' to brainstorm and then consider your options. Armed with specific questions you can start your research online, and then progress to finding people working in the fields you are considering.

  3. You never know who can help you

    If networking conjures up images of cheap white wine and insincere smiles you need to think again. Networking is the life blood of new careers, business and ...well, pretty much everything! People help people they know, like and trust - so your immediate friends and family are the best people to let know how they can help you. You never know who your best friend's sister might sit next to on a train. People generally love to help people they care about.

  4. Consider past careers

    Sometimes changing the environment you work in or the boss you work for is enough to satisfy you with out embarking on a drastic career change. For this reason it's crucial you run your old jobs through the 'evaluation matrix'. This will also help you brainstorm options which are in the same 'job family'.

  5. Prepare as much as you can

    Accept that career change takes time and you may need to take several steps to get where you want to go. Ideally don't wait until you are at breaking point so you can avoid a knee jerk reaction. Often career change can mean a reduction in pay, so remember you may need to plan for this.

With the disappearance of the job for life and an uncertain job market, career change is now a regular part of modern working life. Knowing how to chart your career course is more crucial than ever, and it's something you may need to do several times, for example your values may change or you may want use cross transferable skills. With the right guide this can be a satisfying and rewarding journey.

For more information on the book "If Not Now, When? How to Take Charge of your Career" go to Or follow Jane on Twitter.

©Copyright Jane Barrett 2010



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