You’ve finally had it with your job and you’re ready to embark on a whole new adventure by making a career change. You may be asking yourself questions such as, “What do I want to do?” “Who do I want to work for?” and “Where do I want to work?” If you haven’t got the slightest idea how to answer any of these question, don't fear. Thoroughly researching your options will lead you to make the right choices.
It’s normal to know that you want to change careers but to not know what career you want to change to. Start by making a list of all the professions that interest you and that you could realistically do. Do a Web search for a general description of each career on the list and read it. Think about whether each career fits with your skill set and your preferred way of working. You’ll need to be paid a certain amount to maintain or improve your current lifestyle. Investigate the going rate for different careers by calling up an employment agency and asking what its employer clients are offering for those roles.
Instead of indiscriminately applying for any position that you see on a job board and like the look of, think about what type of organization you want to work for. Do you want to be part of a multinational conglomerate or a small start-up? Reflect upon what values and principles you want the company to have. Once you’ve established your criteria, make a note of the employer responsible for each job vacancy ad that catches your eye. Investigate whether the company meets your criteria by going through its website’s site map and calling up to chat to its receptionist or another employee about what it’s like there.
It’s worth finding out how long it takes to commute to a potential employer and what the most convenient route and mode of transport would be for you. Also think about the time of day you would be expected to commute. For example, when’s the latest you’d be willing to leave work? As a woman, you may be wary of doing shift work in an area that’s not the safest at night. If you have your eyes set on a particular employer, investigate different routes to and from your would-be workplace by doing test runs at different times of the day by car, train, bus and so on.
You may know what career you want and what organization you want to work for, but do you know if you want to work with the people in that company? If you don’t know who works there, let alone anything about them, it’s relatively easy to find out if you’re willing to do a little digging. Start with the employee and board member profiles on the company website. Pay particular attention to the people who would be your bosses and co-workers if you were to enter the business. Look up their profiles on LinkedIn. Find the organization’s Twitter account and look at who it’s following.
Based in London, Autumn St. John has been writing career- and business-related articles since 2007. Her work has appeared in the "Guardian" and "Changing Careers" magazine. St. John holds a Master of Arts in Russian and East European literature and culture from University College London, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in modern history from the University of Oxford.