Maximise your employability

How to change your career: 4 practical tips

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In your lifetime, you can spend on average 80,000 to 90,000 hours at work. To put this into perspective, that can be 30% of your life. So how do you make it all count? The easy answer is doing something you love. But sometimes it's more complicated then that. What if you're in a job that you find unfulfilling? For many of us, it's quite unrealistic to suddenly quit our jobs and go travelling to 'find ourselves'. We have many responsibilities, such as family, pets and paying the rent or mortgage, to name a few. But equally you shouldn't be wasting your time and energy in a career that makes you feel discontented and uninspired.

So you need a plan of action for 2017. Whether you're working full time, part time or are between jobs, here are some practical tips to get you started.

1. Review your CV

You may have already started your 'new career' search or perhaps you already have something in mind. If you have no idea what you're doing, we suggest you start with reviewing your CV or LinkedIn profile. Look at your employment history. Write down things you enjoyed in each job, certain everyday tasks or projects. Also make note of your strengths, like what you're good at and enjoy doing, such as leading projects or analysing data. Find any patterns and themes in your employment history, and see how you can link it to the new direction you want to take.

2. Go out and speak to people

Begin with family, friends and colleagues - do they know anyone you can speak to? Attend career events and speak to the exhibitors - they'll be happy to give you an overview of various opportunities and explain the state of the industry. There are also various online career events and lunch time webinars. So research and sign up for these, as it can be a place to ask questions to industry experts. Also check if there are any local meet-ups based around your career interest. Many host free presentations and networking events.

3. Do a short online course

If you've decided on a new career and it's totally different to what you do now, it may seem hard to make that transition, especially since many job openings want you to have at least two years' experience! You might have some transferable skills that employers will value, but there could be specific skills or qualifications they require for the role. So doing a short online course can be the answer, allowing you to up-skill and gain that confidence and knowledge in a subject area and gain formal certification of your new training in the process.

Furthermore you can fit this all around your current work and personal commitments. For example, you can catch up on classes and access content when you need to, at home, during your lunchtime break or on your commute.

4. Opportunities in your current organisation

Talk to your line manager about your development. There could be a chance for you to do a secondment in another area of the business so you can build up your relevant experience. You can also ask your employer about taking a sabbatical to develop your skills, like teaching English abroad. Many employers want to keep on their staff and invest in their employees. So check if there are any development programmes on offer.

Changing careers takes a lot of time, effort and focus. It can be a long journey. But the good news is there are lots of resources available which are often free. Like our free and affordable online courses at ACCA-X. The free introductory and intermediate courses can help develop your financial literacy skills and are a good basis for any business career. We also offer affordable 10-week professional education courses that give you a strong foundation in accountancy, business and finance. It can lead to the ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business, if you decide to enter and then pass all the exams.

Visit the ACCA-X website to check out Vanessa Lavoipierre's story - she works at a start-up and used ACCA-X to change her career.  

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