Find Fulfilment Via a Career Change

The ‘job for life’ is extinct and most of us will experience at least one career change. In the modern workplace we need to think in terms of lifetime employability and that requires versatility, flexibility and adaptability as you pursue lifelong learning while developing your skills and building your network.

Most of us never work in the field that we studied at college and most of us fall into the jobs we can get and then make the best of it. Many people are scared to change careers, afraid of failure and reluctant to start again at entry level.

If you are at the stage where career transition seems to be appropriate then it is useful to think in terms of three stages:

  • Reinvent: when you need a total change of career
  • Renew: when you want to carry on with what you do to the best of your ability
  • Refresh: you like what you do but you want a change, a step up or a lateral move

Research the Options

Our advice is to focus your attention on what matters most to you – your values, strengths, priorities and commitments. Then consider the different paths that may be available to you; talk to people who are doing the job you want and who can provide practical information about a possible transition. Find a mentor, but bear in mind that if you are seeking a change you may need to look outside of your usual network.

Once you have done some exploration and research you can then use the feedback from your mentors and peers to figure out what you want next. It’s never too late to make a change and you are not too old to succeed. Don’t clock-watch the day away, you deserve job satisfaction and ideally a role that inspires and enthuses you.

If your current career is not fulfilling, if it does not provide a sense of achievement then it may be time to make a leap of faith. The Guardian interviewed David Thomas, chief executive of Crac, the Careers Research and Advisory Centre who says: 'For most people, a major career change is a very positive experience and nearly always a success story. If you can find a role that you love, the change will be totally invigorating.'

Thomas recommends What colour is your parachute? by Richard Bolles about which he says: 'This is the best-known book about how to make a successful job change. I think it is worth investing a bit of time in reading a guide to help you work out how to go about that change and to know yourself better.'

Seize the Day

Making such a change is not for the fainthearted and it is important that you have realistic expectations. When you are ready to make a move the first hurdle will be to get your foot in the door. Ensure you have a CV ready that showcases the skills and experience most relevant to the role you want, but be open to opportunities where you will be able to learn and grow. You may have to make compromises on salary and job title when you step out on a new career path.

Think carefully about how you approach the change. You may be able to make changes in your current role, studying part-time, acquiring new skills, proactively networking and talking to mentors with the aim of approaching potential new employers. You may be able to move into a new career path progressively via a series of roles and don’t forget that voluntary activities can sometimes be a good way to explore new avenues.

The world is full of opportunities and if you are willing to take a few career risks you can redefine your professional persona. It won’t be easy but it will almost certainly be worth it!

To discuss Career Transition with a member of the CDS team please call 0333 240 8115 or email us at

Posted: Wednesday 30 May 2018

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