ARE YOU THINKING OF A CAREER CHANGE?
Are you currently thinking of a career change? This is a thought process which many go through on a regular basis and it can be a daunting experience. In this blog we are going to explore the reasoning behind changing your career, look at how to change your career and some popular career change ideas that you may want to consider. We will also explain what you must take into account before deciding to change your career.
CHANGING CAREERS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a large rise in people wanting to change careers. This could be a forced change due to redundancy, or a result of being furloughed by their employer. It has been estimated alone that since the start of the pandemic in the UK alone over 11.4 million people were placed on the furlough scheme and at the time of writing many remain within this scheme.
As the weeks have rolled by with many of us have been sat at home, this seems to have been a catalyst to start thinking about alternative opportunities. For some, the pandemic presented creative opportunities and some have successfully started their own work from home businesses. For others, this simply prompted people to think about their current position and if they are indeed content in their current role.
Whilst the pandemic has caused a huge downturn in many business sectors, such as hospitality, high street retail, tourism, and the leisure industries it has also presented opportunities and growth in other sectors and recruitment still remains strong, in industries such as:
- Policing careers
- Fire service careers
- Public transport careers
- NHS & healthcare careers
- Parcel delivery service
- Civil service careers
CAREER CHANGE AT 40 OR 50?
Age can be one of the main factors why many begin to look for a change of career. As you approach 40 you may start to question whether your current role is suitable to your needs. Maybe you feel you have taken your current role as far as you can go, or are hindered by lack of progression opportunities, or are simply looking for a new challenge and are looking for some inspiration as to what career change ideas you might want to pursue.
Salary expectations are also a common deciding factor. For example, many that are over 40 have much higher outgoings than they did when they first started working. This could include, rising bills, mortgages/rent to pay, childcare costs, and general lifestyle changes. Because of this many are forced to seek opportunities outside of their current roles, with some people taking on second jobs to fill the salary void.
However, many people in their 40s do not take any further action beyond thinking about changing careers. Why, you may ask. Simply put, they either feel that it is too late to switch careers, or they find the thought of attending interviews and assessments too daunting. In our opinion, you should certainly not let this hold you back! Even at 40 with a plan to retire at 65, you still have a good 25 years left of your working life and this will allow you to become an asset for any prospective employer and be a good return on their investment.
Some people nearing 50 will go through a similar thought process, but don’t consider your options reduced. You still have at least 15 years left of your working life, and in many cases more as the retirement age seems to be increasing in the UK, and many people continue to work past 65.
HOW DO YOU DECIDE IF A CAREER CHANGE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
There is much to consider before taking this giant leap and you will need to be thorough in your approach and ask yourself a number of questions. Due diligence is vital as changing careers at any time during your working life requires a lot of thought, determination, and courage. This should be done in two separate stages.
Stage 1 – Evaluation of your current job
Stage 2 – Searching for a role to fit your needs
First consider your current role and the reasons why you are considering changing careers. Ask yourself these four questions;
- Do you enjoy your job? Is it the role or the company you are working for which is making you consider change?
- Are you content with your current salary? If asked most of us would prefer to be on a higher salary. But are you comfortable with your salary? Are you struggling?
- Does your work affect your home life? Would changing careers prevent this? Career changes would bring their own challenges and stresses.
- If you were offered a promotion and a better salary, would you stick with your current career and be content?
If you have answered these questions honestly and still feel that the right thing to do is to change careers, then you should ask yourself the following set of questions. This will help you to formulate a plan about how to change careers successfully and identify the right career path for you.
- Have you got any ambitions or any roles that you have thought about in the past which you would like to do? If yes, list these, it will help pinpoint your ideal career.
- Are you willing to re-train or undertake training courses if required? What skills or qualifications do you have which you could transfer to other roles of interest?
- Are you willing to sacrifice salary over job satisfaction, if you find the ideal role?
- What are your strengths and what do you like to do, would these suit any of the roles you are considering? For example, do you enjoy helping others? Are you a problem solver?
These are just a few of the considerations that you should make when thinking about changing career. However, much will also depend on your personal circumstances, so please bear this in mind before reviewing our popular career change ideas below.
3 POPULAR CAREER CHANGE IDEAS
There are a number of choices you can make when searching for a new career and ultimately this will be driven by your personal goals and ambitions. However, as a careers specialist company, over the last year or so we have seen a dramatic rise in interest of a number of specific roles, and in the next sections we have provided background information on a number popular career choices.
In the following sections we will go into further details regarding the specific careers mentioned above. In the coming weeks we will look at further roles which many people are looking to switch careers consider.
First up from our three most popular career change ideas is joining the UK police service, as they offer a wide variety of opportunities both as a police officer and as a civilian – one of the more challenging civilian roles being a Police Communications Officer. Other roles include intelligence analysts, forensic specialists, or custody clerks to name a few. However, the most sought-after role within the police is without a doubt the role of a police officer. This highly sought-after role, is one that many people in the UK consider when changing careers. The role itself is challenging, but extremely rewarding and offers the opportunity to make a positive impact on the communities which you would serve. The selection process to become a police officer is challenging and consists of the following elements:
- Online application
- Online assessment process
- In-Force or final interview
- Fitness test and medical
To be successful with an application you will be required to demonstrate that you possess certain qualities and skills such as; being an effective communicator and having the ability to adjust your communication to the target audience, be able to remain calm under pressure and solve any associated problems, show high levels of integrity and resilience at all times. You should also be community focused and committed to providing a high level of service always.
Another excellent career change idea is becoming a trainee train driver. One of the questions we are regularly asked is ‘how do I become a train driver’. To summarise this role requires you to undertake a rigorous selection process which involves a number of safety critical assessments and tests, as well as two separate interviews. If you are successful, once fully qualified you will earn an excellent salary with great benefits on top. An important consideration with any job of this nature is that the competition for vacancies is fierce, with usually 100s of applicants for a small number of vacancies so your preparation is vital if you are to be successful.
A breakdown of the selection process is as follows:
- Online application
- Online tests
- Assessment centre and structured interview
- Manager’s interview
- Medical and vetting
The ideal candidate for this role is someone who is extremely safety conscious, possesses high levels of concentration over long periods and is a strict follower of procedures and instructions. You must also be able to provide high levels of customer service at all times.
Our third career change idea you should consider is becoming a firefighter. This is another highly sought-after role, and one that also involves a lengthy and gruelling selection process. To have any chance of success of a career in the fire service you will have to be fully prepared for the different elements of the recruitment process. Many people believe that the role involves purely attending operational incidents. Although this forms a large part of the role, there is far more to the role than this. You would be required to do work within the community to promote fire prevention and offer fire safety advice.
To become a firefighter, you will be expected to demonstrate certain qualities which match the core values of the UK Fire Service. For example, you must be an excellent communicator, efficient team worker, be able to remain calm and composed in difficult situations. You should also possess competent problem-solving skills and be able to analyse your performance and improve if need be. These are only a few of the many qualities you will need to demonstrate to be successful to become a firefighter in the UK.
The selection process consists of the following elements:
- Online application
- Firefighter assessments and practical tests
- Fitness test and medical
If you’re looking even more career change ideas (even some which require no experience at all) comment below and we will point you in the right direction to kick start your new challenge!