So, you’re looking for a new career. Whether you’ve fallen out of love with a career you used to adore or you’ve simply had enough of a career you’ve been tolerating for years, making a career change can be both exciting and scary. And if you’ve been in the same industry for many years, knowing how to find a new career can feel like a minefield. To make things a little easier, here’s exactly what you need to do when it’s time for a fresh start in your career.
How to find a new career
Scrutinise the belief: “I need a new career”
If work has been miserable for a while, your boss is driving you mad or you’re on the brink of burnout, you may think that starting afresh in a new industry is the only way to feel happy again. But, this can lead to trouble if the real problem is the company you’re working for or the role you’re doing, rather than the career field you’re in.
A ‘soul-sucking’ job can feel entirely different if you’re doing it in a company that’s aligned with your values or if you’re given new responsibilities that challenge and excite you.
However, when the career field you’re in is the problem, taking on new responsibilities or moving to an amazing company won’t eliminate the feeling that something is wrong.
Starting a new career can be expensive, time-consuming and emotionally draining, so make sure it’s the right decision for you before embarking on a career change. You can do so with our Do I need a New Career or Do I Just Need a New Job cheatsheet.
Review all of the jobs you’ve had
It’s often said that past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. We agree. Where career change is concerned, you can learn a lot about what you want and don’t want in your next job by looking at what you’ve liked and disliked in your old jobs. Here’s how.
- Take a moment to write down all the jobs you’ve had as an adult.
- Next to each job write down what you liked about the job (it can be anything, from the salary to the free lunches or easy commute) and write down what you didn’t like.
- Review the list when completed and draw a circle around all of the ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ that you’ve mentioned more than once.
- The circled items hold clues about what you should look out for in your next career.
Where career change is concerned, you can learn a lot about what you want and don’t want in a new career by looking at what you’ve liked and disliked in your old jobs.
Think about your personality
A big reason why people start looking for a new career is that their current industry is a bad fit for their personality. When people say that they want to do fulfilling work, they often mean that they want a career that satisfies their needs, wants and values. All of these things are a part of your personality and they need to be taken into account during your search for a new career.
- How you like to be managed
- What motivates you
- What you enjoy
- How practical you are
- Your goals in life
- How you like to be rewarded
- How important acknowledgement is to you
- If you like to lead or follow
- If you’re a team worker or solo player
- If you’re an introvert or extrovert
All of these factors will influence the best next career for you. When you’re considering a new industry or role ask yourself if the role matches the answers you gave to the above points.
Think about your ideal lifestyle
It’s not uncommon for the type of lifestyle you want to change over time. A job that involves lots of travel, evening/weekend industry events and boozy client lunches may feel exciting in your early 20s. But the novelty may wear off as the years pass… especially if you start a family and your priorities change.
It’s also common to gather more financial responsibilities as you get older, which can mean that the ‘ok’ salary your current career attracts may no longer be enough to meet your monthly needs.
Location can be another problem. It’s common to change where you want to live as you get older. When this happens, you may find that it’s hard to work in your current industry and also live where you want to live.
These are just a handful of lifestyle factors worth considering when changing industries. The best way to identify how you need a new career to fit in with your lifestyle is to grab a piece of paper and write down what your ideal lifestyle looks like.
- Where would you live?
- Who would you live with?
- How far would you travel to work?
- How would you spend your spare time?
Once you have this information written down in front of you, you’ll be better placed to rule in or rule out new career ideas based on how compatible they are with what you want from life.
A job that involves lots of travel, evening/weekend industry events and boozy client lunches may feel exciting in your early 20s. But the novelty may wear off as the years pass.
Speak to people who love their jobs
It’s easy to buy into the idea that people who love their jobs feel that way because of the tasks they do on a daily basis. This isn’t the case. The truth is that people who love their jobs love how what they do makes them feel rather than the tasks themselves. When you’re in the right career, your job will meet your key emotional needs, and these needs vary from person to person. For some, it’s feeling like you’re doing something worthwhile and making a difference, while for others, it may be having the freedom to live the life you want, autonomy to determine how you spend your days or the ability to spend time with like-minded individuals who give you a sense of belonging.
If you’re looking for new career ideas, speak to people who love their jobs to find out what they love about it. Pay attention to the answers that strike a chord with you. These may be the things that you also need to have in your next career.
Once you’ve figured out what you need from your next career, in terms of your lifestyle and personality needs, take your search for a new career to the next level by trying our brand new and 100% free Career Clarity Video Masterclass. In it, The Ambition Plan’s founder (and five-time career changer), Lauretta Ihonor, walks you through 5 foolproof strategies for working out the best career for you. Find out more here.
Trying to figure out your next career move?
Sign up for our weekly Get Unstuck emails. They will walk you through your stuck moment and give you the advice and tools you need to create the career you want… one week at a time.