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The New Year is often a time of change: when we make resolutions to improve our lives and ourselves. For those considering a career change, our National Careers Service adviser Debbie Pym gives her top tips to consider before making the leap.

A career change isn’t just about your job, it’s about your life. How you feel every morning when you have to get up for work rubs off on your health and your relationships; ultimately it’s about the impact that you make, not only in the world of work but also your place in society.

Fact: Making a big career change isn't easy – otherwise everyone would be doing it. But, it is possible and, to quote author George Eliot “It's never too late to be what you might have been.”

Here are six top tips for making the change:

  1. Consider whether you need a career change or just need to change your job.  Ask yourself these questions: Has your life changed? Is your job too stressful?  Do you want/need to earn more money?  Are you just bored? 
  2. Decide what is important to you in a career.  What sort of environment do you think you would like to work in? What motivates you work-wise? What do you like doing? What are you good at?  All of these questions will help you identify possible avenues. A good place to start is the National Careers Service Skills Health Check, which takes you through a series of assessments to help you explore your interests, preferred working style and what you want to get from work.
  3. Identify your transferable skills. These are the abilities you can take with you to another career such as organisation, communication and computer skills. There are many tools to help with this on the internet including our Skills Health Check mentioned above, which will identify your skills and where they can be used.
  4. Explore your options.  Make a list of occupations to research and look at job descriptions on recruitment websites or the job profiles on the National Careers Service website to get an idea of the type of work, entry requirements, training needs and salary expectations. Include Apprenticeships in your research, as these now offer opportunities for all ages not just school leavers.
  5. Narrow down your options. Marry the career ideas up with the things you identified as important to you.  For example, you may consider the work-life balance of an occupation does not meet your needs or decide that a particular career does not give you the opportunity to use a skill or interest that you are passionate about.
  6. Get professional advice. If you want support to guide you through the process then you can speak to our qualified careers advisers by calling 0800 100 900 from 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

A career changer's story

Philip*, a 47 year old security guard, contacted the National Careers Service because he was looking to change career. Our adviser reviewed his CV and helped him to complete an action plan.  “The adviser was very understanding and his advice helped bolster my confidence in going forward for new positions and careers.”

Since the sessions, Philip has had an interview and been accepted in a new role with the Civil Service. “The advice definitely helped. I would recommend anyone to use the National Careers Service; they are very helpful and friendly and allay any nerves you may have very quickly.” (* name has been changed.)

Good luck with your career change.  And remember that we're here to help.

Adviza is the Prime Contractor for the National Careers Service in the Thames Valley Region.


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