Career Trends: What to consider when planning a career change

4 min read

Edition: November 28th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Planning a career change can be daunting. You need to go step by step to move closer to your dream future. (Image Credit: Canva)

According to a survey, a majority (52%) of workers are considering a job change in 2021, and as many as 44% have plans in place to make the leap.

Here’s a common scenario. You’ve been at the same company for years, and you feel stuck. Over the last 11 to 12 months, the thought of making a career change continues to creep into your consciousness. Then you ask yourself whether it is too late to switch companies or even make a career change to another industry. 

People who have been at the same company for years often feel stagnated and unchallenged. But you don’t have to settle with that.

Here are some concrete steps you can take to overcome the fears associated with making a career change: 

1. Start by acknowledging that career change is scary.

  • Even if it’s an activity you’ve been dreaming about for years, career change is scary. That’s normal. 
  • Research shows that the human brain perceives changing jobs as a life change that threatens its survival.
  • In fact, the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale found that making a career change is one of the 20 most stressful things that happen in your life, just behind the death of a close friend. 

2. Make a list of your quantifiable achievements.

  • If you’ve been at your company for any length of time, you have accomplished a lot.
  • But so many people neglect documenting their achievements on an ongoing basis.
  • Then inevitably, when you go to update your resume, it seems like an insurmountable task.
  • If your LinkedIn profile is a laundry list of dates and job titles, it’s time to create a “highlight reel” of your big wins so you can share it with the world.
  • This exercise will also go a long way in boosting your overall self-confidence. 

3. Consider the ‘sweet spot’ – intersection of what you enjoy and are good at.

  • The “sweet spot” is what I call the intersection of what you both enjoy and are good at.
  • Chances are, your experience can translate into many different roles, but not all those positions will get you excited to jump out of bed in the morning.
  • Write down a description of your perfect day.
  • By visualising your future, you’ll get closer to making it a reality.

4. Don’t immediately update your résumé. Understand your goals first.

  • The number one mistake people make when thinking about career change is to hurry and update their resumes.
  • That’s because you want to feel like you’re “in action”. But unless you have a clear idea of your goal, this exercise will be a waste of time.
  • Of course, a résumé is helpful if you know how you want to position yourself, but if you don’t know where you are heading, it is advisable to wait a bit.

5. Break down your goals into small, manageable steps.

  • The best way to combat fear is to take action, no matter how small.
  • Once you identify that bigger goal, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.
  • Then develop a blueprint with action items and target dates to hold you accountable. 

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  • Getting stuck in your own head is one of the worst things you can do when planning a career change.
  • Instead, make an effort to network with people in the industry or the company you’re thinking of transitioning into.
  • Find out all you can about what the day-to-day activities look like to determine whether it is a good fit or not.
  • A career change requires a lot of emotional support, so don’t hesitate to lean on friends and family.
  • You may even consider engaging a coach or mentor who can provide an objective and professional viewpoint.

While it may not happen overnight, now is a great time to change careers. Geography is no longer a factor – making more roles available as remote opportunities. Also, employers are more open than ever to hiring workers with unique skillsets. 

So, don’t wait — because the only thing scarier than change is regret.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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