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Do you sometimes dread going to work in the morning? Or do you feel you’re staring at the clock all day watching the minutes tick by? Perhaps it’s time for a career change? Whatever signs there might be, if you don’t feel like you’re doing the work you love anymore, it could be time to change careers. But before you throw caution to the wind and resign at your present job, you should do some careful thinking to ensure you’re making the right decision. And it’s important that you prepare yourself to make the transition as smooth as possible.

It’s not uncommon for people that stay in the same position or industry for years to consider what else is out there. It’s also difficult to know whether the new job you’re interested in will be a better fit for you.

If you’re looking for work and aren’t having much luck in your chosen field, it's tempting to decide now’s the time for a career change. Although it’s good to be flexible, it’s important to also be realistic.

Here are a few things to consider before changing careers.

Get new academic qualifications

Making a shift from one career to another isn’t easy. You probably should start from the bottom and work your way to the top again. If you want your career change to be successful, you’ll need to have the required academic qualifications. There are certain job adverts that require you to have a specific diploma or degree, no matter the industry you’re in. For instance, any company’s ideal candidate must have some computer proficiency and should have done a computer course from a recognised institution.

Your academic qualifications will go a long way in ensuring that you have your foot in the door with any company you’d like to work for. So if you’re looking to change careers within your organisation or at another company, it can be done easily.

Get the necessary experience

Once you have the necessary qualification, it’s important to have the experience with it. If you want to perform a new function successfully, you should get your hands dirty and do some work. It might require you to work longer hours for little pay. Or you could even work for no pay in the form of volunteering. Many job adverts need you to have at least two or more years of experience in that field. And where will you get that while working full-time? You simply have to offer your valuable time, such as after your day job and weekends, to acquire the necessary experience.

Many think it’s something they can bypass. Unfortunately, you cannot. Recruiters will adhere to the guidelines they’ve stated in their advert. So it’s best to be prepared before making a career change. You could also apply for an internship opportunity and gain experience. It'll move you from a little pay bracket to a place where you can live off your salary comfortably. It’s important to become marketable and get the necessary experience.

Take a look at your skill set

You might not have direct experience in the specific field you’re looking to enter in  but perhaps there are some skills you have that can be transferred into your new career. You should know what skills are most sought after by recruiters in the new field and compare it to what you have. And remember that your personality and abilities go a long way in making your potential employer view you in a different light.

It’s important to take the time and research the new career path you wish to pursue. You should know it inside and out. And look for ways your skill set will be beneficial.

Network

Once you have the necessary qualifications and experience, you should network. You could also identify a mentor in the industry to advise you where and when needed. Attend events and conferences where you can meet people and network for your own career advantage. If you network, you’ll be able to come up with an action plan which will provide you with guidance on the new career path. It’s always wise to document each milestone and be sure to reward yourself when you achieved something.

Do your homework

It’s important to ensure you’re not jumping from one sinking industry to another. Is this an area where you’ll be able to grow? Research the industry and specific career field. Look at whether a particular specialty within your potential new field is in demand. Take a look at the boards and company websites that post the jobs you’re interested in. Always read the job descriptions and desired skills and make note of which ones you see repeated across all the openings.

You need to consider and think about these five key pointers before making a career shift. It’ll be required from you to put in extra work, thought and time if you want to make a success of it.

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