Thinking about making a career change? Do you know what’s important to you in a job?

change your career, change your life
Changing careers of jobs should be done with planning

When thinking about a career change, or changing jobs, there are a few things that you need to think about before you start making job applications.

As well as practical things like location, salary and the job market, when considering a career change, don’t forget to look into updating your skills and experience – especially if you are returning to work after taking a break.

Do your research before you start your career change

The first thing you need to do is to write down a list of potential careers that your current skills, qualifications and experience can work in. After you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential careers, there are a number of issues you’ll want to consider before putting your plan into action.

What opportunities are there to progress within the careers you’re looking at? Once you’re in, how would you get to the next stage – either within the same line of work, or in a related field? What training is likely to be on offer? Do you want to go on more courses to increase your promotional chances once you get started?

What does the job market look like for your new career?

There’s competition in most careers, but some are more competitive than others. Careers that are seen as ‘glamorous’ can often be difficult to get into without doing quite a lot of unpaid work experience, or working as an intern, and a certain amount of luck. If you’re attracted to a career like this, are you prepared to put in the extra effort? Do you have enough financial backing (savings, a spouse or partner who is prepared to bear the cost of you not working as much) while you gain this all-important experience?

Location is key for your career change

Location is key, especially when you have responsibilities outside work like children, or caring for a relative. While you can probably find work as a travel agent in most large towns, for example, if you’re looking to get into TV production there are likely to be more opportunities in London and other major cities.

Salary counts during a career change

Most industries have a lot of career development and promotion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get a huge increase in pay. If money is your main motivation for changing careers, do your research before you invest any time and money.

Working conditions

What will doing the job actually mean on a day-to-day basis? If it involves meeting lots of people and you are a shy or introvert person, you might want to think again. Would you prefer a job that’s desk based, a client-facing job, or one that’s in the great outdoors, even in the depths of winter? These are just some of many questions you need to ask yourself before you set out on your career change.

Make your list

Once you’ve considered the factors mentioned above, make a list to help focus your mind. Try listing the things that most important to you, and those things which are ‘nice to have’. An example might look like this:


  • involves dealing with people
  • not more than an hour’s travel from home
  • earning at least £25,000 a year as a junior member of staff

‘Nice to have’

  • in public or ‘not for profit’ sectors
  • opportunities to travel abroad
  • linked to a favourite subject you’ve studied

What qualifications do you need?

Looking at career profiles should give you a good idea of the qualifications you’ll need before you set out on your career change – visit our sister site, Change Your Career, Change Your Life for job profiles.

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