career change

Need a career change? Here’s 6 steps to make it happen

Need a career change? Here’s 6 steps to make it happen

WORK180Apr 28, 2020

Subscribe to our monthly Women at Work newsletter to get inspiring stories, career building resources and exclusive network invites delivered to your inbox.

Are you ready for a career change? If so, you’re not alone. According to a London Business School study, half the UK workforce (47%) would like to move into a new career. But how do you turn this dream into action?

Whether your career goals have changed, your industry has been disrupted or you’re just feeling unfulfilled, here are six steps to help give your career a makeover:

“While interning at Songkick, a live music directory, I remember the team showcasing what they’d worked on that week and someone shared some analysis they’d done on the marketing funnel, from which business decisions were made,” she recalls.

1. Think about the why

The first step requires some self-reflection. Why do you want to change careers and what is it that you’re looking for from your next move? Maybe it’s a bigger challenge, better work/life balance or the ability to make more money. Be clear on what it is you do want and what you don’t want, as this will help shape where to from here.

2. Identify some alternative career options

If you know you want to change careers but are not sure what to, think about your interests, your passions and what drives you, and how this could translate into a profession. You can also seek the advice of family, friends or a career coach. Another option is to do a personality test to better understand careers you’d be best suited to – 16Personalities is a good free option.

3. Do your research

Once you’ve pinpointed some possible careers and industries, start to do some in-depth research to help determine whether it’s the right fit for you. Do some desk research (e.g. explore the UK government’s National Careers Service website, relevant industry body websites and available salary guides), read blog posts and reach out to people in the industry to share some real-world insight. It’s also a good idea to search job boards to determine how many opportunities are available and the types of businesses hiring.

4. Create a plan

Now that you’re committed to a career change, it’s time to map out how you’re going to make it happen. What skills do you need to acquire, what networks do you need to build and what people do you need to speak to? And be realistic with your plan’s timeframe – it might take a while to fully transition to a new career, but the sooner you take action the closer you’ll be.

5. Consider your transferable skills

While you might not have the desired experience on paper, you most likely have some transferable skills. This could be hard skills like budgeting, marketing and working with technology, or soft skills like customer service, written and verbal communication and organisational skills. And you might have learnt these on the job or from life experience such as being a parent. Understand how your skills could translate to a new industry and be prepared to connect the dots for an employer.

6. Bridge any skill gaps

Based on your current work experience and transferable skills, are there any gaps where you need to enhance your skill set, achieve a qualification, or brush up on some knowledge? You might fill these gaps through formal education and online learning courses, or look for some volunteering opportunities, which can help give you some on-the-job experience as well as a taste of the work first-hand. It might even be an option to develop some of the necessary skills within your current workplace. So, if you’re dreaming about a career change, it might be time to do something about it. And remember it’s never too late to make a change.

About the author



WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women. We pre-screen every employer on our jobs board to see where they stand on pay equity, flexible working, paid parental leave, equal opportunities and a range of other criteria. We also take into account diversity initiatives focusing on age, ability, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The information we uncover is made public on our website, so that everyone knows what to expect from each employer before applying for a job. We continually review and evolve our pre-screening criteria to ensure workplaces are fair and equal for everyone.

To help women find a workplace that will work for them, we prescreen employers on their gender pay gap data, parental leave policies, flexible working, and more. Find your next role on the WORK180 job board.