AFTER what seems like an endless winter, spring is hopefully just around the corner and some people may be thinking that it’s time for a change of career.
Joanne McKinney, Careers Manager for Coleraine, Limavady and Ballymoney in the Department for Employment and Learning’s Careers Service, offers some useful tips for both those thinking about a change of direction in their working life and those trying to decide on a career for the first time.
“Maybe you find you don’t enjoy work as much as you used to and wonder if you are on the right path. Perhaps you’ve gone as far as you can in your current career and feel the need for further challenges and development. It could be that you’re just fed up, asking yourself where your job and company are headed or wondering if you’re even in the right career.
“For others it could be that they’ve been made redundant and are unsure of what to do next and what help is available or it could even be that you’ve been unemployed for a while, feel stuck in a rut and need help with your job search.
“In all these cases, the Careers Service is ready, willing and available to help.
“The most important thing is to think carefully - don’t leap before you look! Especially if considering changing career, take it slowly and make sure that you really want to change careers as the grass always appears greener on the other side - but may not be. Take into account current and future growth areas as well as those in decline. Look at the ideas below and see how you can take your steps towards your personal career success.” Consider what you really like doing when you’re at work, when you’re at home or in your spare time. A job you really like is key to keeping you motivated and satisfied. Employers know this too - a happy worker is a productive worker, so they prefer staff who are passionate about their chosen field.
Spend some time researching the types of careers that you think you would like. Information is available from a whole variety of sources. Being aware of current and future growth areas as well as those in decline and knowledge of the local job market is important. Information is available in the ‘Get career ideas’ section on www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers.
People you know may be able to give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular company or industry. You could contact professional organisations relating to the jobs that you are interested in for detailed information.
Identify your aptitudes, abilities and transferable skills. There are many skills such as communication, leadership and planning that are relevant to many jobs and could convince employers that you are who they are looking for.
Is it necessary to update your skills and broaden your knowledge? Whether you take a course or just read a book, you’ll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating and beneficial routes to take. Challenge your mind, break out of current routines, move out of your comfort zone and watch your horizons expand.
Would you consider talking a part-time job, working weekends/nights, or volunteering in your preferred career field? This could give you much needed experience and help you confirm that this is really the career you want.
Be prepared to be flexible about nearly everything, from your employment status to relocation and salary. Set positive goals for yourself, but expect setbacks and change.
Some people change careers, but never change employers. Many employers offer opportunities to specialise in various areas of work. However, it’s more than likely that you will need to switch employers to change fields.
Finally, remember that career change is a natural life progression. Most studies show that the average job-seeker will change careers, not jobs, several times over the course of his or her lifetime.
If you need further information, please go to www.nidirect.gov.uk/careers where you will find the contact details for your nearest Careers Office and careers adviser. You can also contact the Careers Service by phone on 0300 200 7820. Don’t forget if you’re in Belfast on a Saturday, the Careers Resource Centre in Ann Street is open from 10AM to 2PM.