Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Pursuing a career change without retraining

People often say to me that they would like to change career but they can’t afford the cost or time of retraining.  Perhaps they have already invested a lot of time and money in their career or they have other financial commitments which take priority such as looking after their family.  They therefore assume that a career change will not be possible.

Does a career change always involve retraining?

It is important not to make any assumptions as a career change does not always involve retraining.  There are many alternative routes into different careers paths and so it is important not to dismiss the idea of a career change without doing some investigations first.  Here are some suggested steps to help you:

1.     Research your chosen profession/industry thoroughly

2.     Identify your transferable skills – you may already have many skills required for the job.  Start making connections between what you can do and what you want to do.

3.     Talk to people within your chosen profession/industry – find out about the various entry routes and whether a qualification is necessary.

4.     You can even seek the help of a career coach!

If you discover that you do require a qualification, ensure you do some work experience to confirm your interest in the area prior to making any financial commitment.  Alternatively, investigate complementary careers for which retraining will not be necessary.

If you discover you don’t require a qualification, keep networking and applying for jobs!  A door will open for you.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Is there more to life than your career?

At a wedding I attended a while ago, I started chatting to a lady during the reception.  Having introduced myself to her, I asked:

‘What do you do?’ 

She looked slightly embarrassed and said that she didn't do anything.

Baffled by her response, I continued chatting with her and through our conversation I discovered that she of course did do something.  She was a mother of two children, a housewife, volunteered a lot of her time to her local community and enjoyed walking.  She did a lot of things.  However, none of these things were associated with a defined job or career which in her mind meant she did nothing.    

How would you answer this question?

Do you also feel your answer should be related to your career or job?  Many of us do, don’t we?  We commonly define who we are by what we do in our working lives but what about all the other aspects of our lives?

Are you a parent, a sibling or a friend?  Do you volunteer your time?  Do you have a hobby? 

Have a think about what you do in your personal life.  What else defines your identity?  Think about all the different roles you have and now answer this question again:

 ‘What do you do?’ 

I am sure your answer has now expanded a little and it may have even prompted you to think more about your work-life balance which is an area often considered during career coaching.  What you do does not have to be limited to your career.  There are many other roles you have that can be just as important in defining who you are and what you do.

For more help on achieving a good work-life balance have a read of my fact sheet here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Do you spend enough time focusing on your dream career?

How many times have you said:

‘I don’t have enough time’

‘I’ll do it next week’

‘I wish I had more time’?

We all say these things, don’t we?   Not having enough time is such a common feeling and a challenge often referred to by clients when talking about committing time to their career progression or development.  There appears to be so much to do and so little time to do it in.  

Searching and applying for jobs, developing your potential at work or changing career is time consuming. Completing a substantial job application requires you to set aside a few hours in the week.  Preparing for a subsequent interview will take a few more hours.  Before you know it, one job application process has taken hours/days of your time.

If only we could wave a magic wand and be offered the job of our dreams without committing too much time to the process. 

 Unfortunately, there are no magic wands and if we want to achieve something in our career we have to be realistic and give it the time commitment it deserves.     

‘I still don’t think I have enough time.’

 If this resonates with you, begin by breaking down how you spend your time. 

There are approximately 98 waking hours each week.  How are you spending these hours?  How many of these hours do you spend at work, on your career, on your social life or on your health?  How many hours seem to be unaccounted for? Are you achieving what you want to achieve in your career in the time available?  If not, read on... 

Now reprioritise your time.  

How important is your career for you and how much of your time do you want to commit to it?  Be honest with yourself.  If you want to spend more time on your career, reprioritise how you spend some of the hours in your week and put aside chunks of time to focus on it. 

If you like numbers, perhaps look at it in a different way.  What percentage of your time would you like to spend on your career development?  For example, spending just 5 hours a week working towards a career change is only approximately 5% of your time.  

Start making small alterations.  By taking responsibility in this way you will be able to control your future and achieve even better results.

 “You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”
- Charles Bruxton