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Tips for starting a new career

A career change is exciting, but it can also be unsettling. Having a vision and a system for starting a new career can make it easier and more effective. Taking time, in the beginning, to determine what you really want to do in your working life can then help you to explore the options and move forward.

1.Know what you do best

Make a list of what you like to do and what you do best. These are usually the same things. Don’t think about jobs yet, think about your talents and interests.

List all the things you like to do, even the ones you think don’t make money.

Think about what other people tell you about yourself. If friends say you are good at identifying birds, for example, write that on the list.

Make a list of the talents and skills that these activities require – bird identification, for example, requires good observation skills and attention to detail.

2. List your education and experience. Volunteering counts. Unusual courses count. If you know something about many things, list them all.

3. Now think of professions. What occupations require your talents?

4. Search the internet. Type in terms like “job skills”, “career skills”, “skills assessment” and whatever else comes to mind.

Narrow the list down to a few possible occupations – no more than three or four. Change your list until you are sure that you would like a job in these areas and that you would do it well. Then limit yourself to one occupation and focus entirely on that.

  • Find out as much as you can about the new profession you have chosen.
  • Search the internet.
  • Visit your local library. The librarians are very good at helping you find information.
  • Inquire at your local employment office about job opportunities in your new profession. Also, ask about training programs.
  • Talk to people in your desired profession. Remember that you are not asking for a job, but to learn about the profession itself. What do successful people like about it? What skills are most important? What is it really like?
  • If there is a trade union, ask the local office for information.

6.You have changed your mind?

That’s fine, just go back to step 3 or 4 and start again. It will be worth your time in the long run. When you are sure about the career path you want to take, move on to the next step.

7.Keep your old job, if possible.

Strange but true: you are more likely to be hired if you are already employed. Think about taking a lower-level job in your new field to learn what you need to move up.

8.Do you need further training?

Find out about vocational schools and colleges in your area. Find out about specific training courses and which employment services offer them. Ask about courses you can take while working. Often night and weekend courses are offered.

No training or courses in your area? Contact the human resources departments of companies hiring in your new profession and ask about on-the-job training. It won’t be a job interview, but treat it like one. Show your best side, dress appropriately, take a CV, prepare questions, talk about your skills and experience.

9. Join a trade union or professional organization. There are organizations for people in almost every profession. Another internet search may lead you to local or national groups.

10. If you have the necessary skills and education, polish your CV and start looking for a job.

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