Considering a career change? Here are three questions you should ask yourself

11 Feb 2021 by Neil Rose

Whether because of changes to our industry, employment situation or lifestyle and values, many of us are rethinking our career options in 2021. But given the somewhat unstable market, is shifting careers something you should consider? Under the right circumstances, I would argue that it is, but here are three questions to ask yourself before you make a leap into the great unknown.

Considering a career change? Here are three questions you should ask yourself

#1 Why are you considering a change right now?

There are many good reasons to make a career change in 2021, but it pays to be clear on yours. If you’ve realised you’ve been stuck in a job you don’t like, or it no longer meets your life goals, then they are pretty compelling reasons. However, if it’s a knee jerk reaction to the state of your industry, it might be worthwhile holding on to see what the future holds.

While there is still a great deal of uncertainty, Australia is emerging from COVID-19, we are officially out of the recession, and many industries are looking to the future.  If you are considering a change because you’re unhappy then that presents new opportunities and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be out there exploring your options.  If, however, it’s a reaction to circumstances, it might be a better option to see what the next few months hold.

Whether you want to change careers or stick with your existing, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. Now is a great time to upskill, with an abundance of free online courses and even government support for training.  If you’ve been made redundant or you’re looking for your next gig, speak to recruiters who specialise in your industry (or the one you want to be in!) to find out what employers are looking for.

#2 What has changed since you chose your career path?

For those of us who have been in the workforce for a while, much has changed since we made our initial work or study choices. From digital literacy coaches to sustainability consultants, app developers and even Uber drivers, there is a whole world of jobs that simply didn’t exist a decade ago. They may not have been an option when you entered the workforce, but there just may be an opportunity now that better matches your skills, personality and experience. 

We are seeing people all over the globe turn their passions into careers, from home cooks that have created successful websites or YouTube channels to those who’ve created startups that are disrupting traditional industries and solving challenges. For example, my business partner and I were in recruitment when we started Referoo. Over Friday beers, we often lamented that reference checking was a pain in the proverbial, and we knew there had to be a better way.  One day it just clicked – we had the skills and experience to solve the problem ourselves.  And with a leap of faith, Referoo was born.

While the old cliché of “follow your passion” can’t ring true for everyone, it’s worth exploring whether there is something out there that you just might enjoy more than the career you chose upon leaving school all those years ago.  

#3 How can your skills be transferred to another industry?

You’ve invested significant time in building the skills and experience you have, and changing careers isn’t about wasting these, it’s about leveraging them. From your technical capability to your soft skills, there could just be another market out there crying out for them.

Amongst the top transferrable skills are data literacy, agility, emotional intelligence, collaboration and critical thinking – skills many of us have developed over the course of our careers. Consider the key skills you have in your toolkit and have a chat to recruiters or even people in your LinkedIn network about whether there are opportunities out there to use these in a new industry.

With almost 3.3 million Australians rethinking their careers in light of the events of 2020, we are seeing a mass exodus and perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to challenge yourself to find a new career path – one that you might actually enjoy.

Geography is less of a barrier with the shift to remote working, and many industries are looking to pivot and do things differently, so if you are considering a career change for the right reasons, now just maybe your moment.