With the rise of disruptive technologies and changing attitudes towards frequent career changes, making a career change can seem much less intimidating than it might have once been. As each person in the workforce will gain new skills and experience over time, some will find their values change as the years pass. Farewelling your old career and making the leap to a new, exciting job you are passionate about could lay the foundations for greater career success by helping you sustain drive and commitment.
Making the move can allow you to discover your true passions and abilities, explore something you have always wanted to try, or better balance competing life priorities. Even so, any career change needs to be planned carefully rather than leapt into. To assist, we have compiled a list of the top career change resources available to support you in assessing, planning, and carrying out your career change, whether you are relatively early in your career or planning a later-life career change.
Creating Encores by entrepreneur and high performance coach Sally Arnold is an invaluable guide for women looking to gain clarity in their situation, create work-life balance, and reach their full potential in their careers. Arnold guides you through creating your “life story scripts”, which she says is empowering and cathartic because it’s “It’s about having the courage to tell your story as it truly is” and in the process develop “an understanding of behavioural patterns from the past that are not serving you now.”
The book contains anecdotes and exercises to help any woman changing direction or feeling stuck in their life find inspiration and identify what they truly want to do. It helps you identify the best way to manage a successful career transformation process. As Arnold puts it:
“If we have lost passion and purpose for our career, how do we find these important parts of us again? Perhaps the ladder has been against the wrong wall – a wall that has no real connection with the person we have I believe that we have an opportunity to get to know the woman that we truly are, warts and all; to take hold of her and steer her through challenges, knowing that there can be meaningful transformations in her life when we commit to change.”
Trusted financial advisor and Certified Financial Planner Peter Horsfield shares in his blog his many years of experience in finding career satisfaction and success. On his blog you can read his insights on everything from money management, achieving your goals in life, entrepreneurialism, and practical tips on finding the right financial products. His blog articles contain many useful insights on finding career success and the psychology behind resilience and other essential qualities.
Horsfield focuses on making choices in alignment with one’s values, in order to life a more fulfilling life. As he puts it, “Making choices aligned to my values has enabled me to make better decisions, in less time and with greater confidence. This has also lead me onto experiencing greater peace, enriched experiences, deeper relationships and much more.”
Those working in IT looking to shift from employee to owning their own IT business will find Max Schleicher’s infographic on the transition an invaluable resource. Through the infographic, you can get useful facts on the IT industry, running an IT business, and setting consulting fees in snapshot form. The infographic provides also useful information on setting fees as a consultant, how to build salary increases into your fees, and what your competitors might look like.
If you are making a career shift from IT employee to running your own business in the same industry, check out Making IT Profitable, an in-depth guide for new business owners in the IT sector. This book, which is completely free to read online or as a downloadable PDF ebook, covers everything you need to know about running a start-up.
The book is designed as a crash course to running your own business – often those who make this particular career shift have outstanding technical skills but are inexperienced in the other non-core functions or non-technology work that form the foundation of a successful business.
Drawing on IT entrepreneurs as well as experts in finance, marketing, HR, sales, and accounting, the book provides practical tips for new IT entrepreneurs including taxation, business insurance, and commercial contracts. You will also find tips on setting prices as a consultant, planning for retirement, managing risk, scaling up, and effective data analysis.
As the book states, “whether you're starting a business because it's a lifelong dream or because it's a financial imperative, there's a lot more to it than actually performing the IT services you've been studying or practicing for years.”
For those embarking on a new career path after establishing themselves in another area, the change often hinges on the issues of skill transferability. mySkills myFuture is simple, free tool that lets you discover other possible careers for you given your current skills. The tool works by providing you with suggestions after you enter your current job or previous jobs.
You can compare the resulting best matches with your past jobs, find the applicable skills, explore typical job duties, find out more about tools and technologies used in the job, and more. You can also filter results by excluding work activities and characteristics.
Designed by careers consultant Lisa Carr at the University of Warwick and Warwick Business School, the Career Change Toolkit is a free, interactive worksheet that helps you explore different possible career paths, work out whether it’s the right time to make the change, and find out more about what you want to change. You can use the worksheet to clarify your thoughts about different options, as well as identify your strengths, interests, and values.
The Toolkit also helps you outline how a possible change could happen and what you need to do to affect it. You start with a quiz that checks whether you are ready for a change before working on guidance questions about what you value, what you can bring to a career, and possible new career paths. Recognising that career change exploration can take some time and reviewing, the Toolkit also provides concrete steps for exploring possible career steps. There are tips for carrying out your change once you have decided on a pathway.
A large part of your career change stage might involve thinking, reflecting, and analysing possibilities as well as your own skills and qualifications. The Career Change Center at Career Profiles offers a number of in-depth articles on various aspects of the career change process. You can find out more about assessing possible risks, developing a sound plan for making the change, and general tips on executing the change. There are also tips on midlife career changes and using temporary employment to assist with the transition.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test is one of the most widely used personality tests in the world. If you have not already taking this assessment, it could be worthwhile for you, as someone planning a career change, to better understand your unique personality preferences and how you relate to others. The results could help you with your career change and inform your decision when it comes to choosing the right career, job, organisation, and workplace.
While the test on the official site is a paid test, you can take similar tests for free elsewhere online.
The Strong Interest Inventory is another test widely used in career assessment, career counselling, and educational guidance. Developed by psychologist Edward Strong and later revised, the latest version is based on the Holland Codes by psychologist John Holland. While the Strong Interest Inventory is a paid test, you can take similar career assessment tests for free elsewhere online.
Job-hunt is a free online resource for those seeking jobs, and its Guide to Career Change offers a number of resources for those changing careers. To start with, there are tips on resumes and cover letters, including new formatting conventions, what to include, and how to write effective cover letters. There is also a section dedicated to using social media for job searches, including how to use LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter to maximise your search results.
The guide includes a section on job interviews, which contains a section on the most common questions and how to answer them. It also takes you through the practicalities of specific types of interviews such phone, video, lunch, and group interviews. Other tips will help you manage the after-interview follow-up and pre-interview preparation.
This comprehensive guide covers reputation management tips, which outlines can you can avoid being “invisible” online and raise your online presence. There are practical tips on how you can work proactively to manage your online profile. Finally, the guide provides specific strategies for searching for jobs, including government careers and search as an over-50s professional.
A Career Change is a UK-focused blog offering thousands of articles and expert advice on changing your career. The portal is focused on assisting people find out about their own preferences and the types of careers that they would like explore. You can also view information on different careers, read success stories from others who have made the transitions, and get tips on CVs and download CV templates.
What’s Next is an online portal that provides an extensive range of resources to help anyone looking to make a change in their work life, with an emphasis on those making midlife career changes or those who are near retirement. There are free resources such as career guides, tools and articles on all aspects of making a viable financial plan, real-life career change case studies, and information on specific sectors.
Monster is one of the largest job websites in the UK and the Changing Careers section of its blog provides many articles, tips, and stories that will be useful for those planning a career change or who are already in the process of changing careers. You can find downloadable ebooks along with articles on obtaining more qualifications, making a career change after the age of 50, and avoiding career boredom.
An initiative of the UK government’s Skills Funding Agency, National Careers Service is a comprehensive portal with in-depth resources, information, and guidance on changing careers and training and job opportunities. It offers a number of careers tool to help employees with identifying jobs and finding training courses to assist with their careers. There is also a skills health check tool that allows you to review your strengths and personality type.
The portal offers free CV builder tools, as well as information on preparing a targeted CV for different employers and writing covering letters. If you are at the stage where you are exploring different jobs, you can browse the hundreds of job profiles to see basic information such as tasks, typical hours, pay, and qualifications. You can also read articles on the job market, job hunting tips, and real life stories about others on their career paths. Through the portal you can connect with advisers who can help you with your CV, apply for jobs, search for courses, obtain funding, and much more.
The website of over-45s recruitment agency Skilled People offers many resources beyond a simple job search function. You can read about the latest news on the job market, read about skills development tips for older job seekers, and keep up to date with relevant survey results and research initiatives concerning the demographic. The website also offers news articles on demographic and social trends relevant to this category of job seekers, including household arrangements, entrepreneurship rates, and regulatory changes.
Career Overview’s Career Change Center offers a number of resources for those making a career change. These articles and guides address the entire process from assessing the possible risks of making a change, exploring career opportunities, and carrying out the transition with a clear plan.
There are also guides on avoiding career change mistakes, working in temporary jobs when you are breaking into a new field, and how to identify and make the most of your transferable skills. If you are making an unconventional midlife career change, this portal also has some interesting and useful strategies and tips for you.
The Harvard Business School blog offers hundreds of articles on career planning that could be useful for those thinking about or planning a new career pathway, all written by high-profile experts in the business or academic fields. Whether you are early in your career, at a mid-stage, or closer to retirement, these career planning insights address the entire spectrum of topics and issues that might affect your decisions, job search, and work life.
There are articles on women’s career paths, finding your purpose, and switching careers without starting all over again. There are also articles on recovering from setbacks, perfecting your CV, networking, and post-retirement careers. You can also find other authoritative articles relevant for career changes on leadership, managing people, productivity, communication, entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and innovation.
The Wall Street Journal’s How-to Guide section on Careers could be a valuable resource if you are considering a career change, planning a change, or ready to make the leap. Topics covered in this free guide include articles on job search tips, such as refining your resume, cover letters, finding coaches, or even finding companies that allow for flexible work arrangements.
You can find practical insights on succeeding at job interviews, including preparation, thank you notes, and negotiating a salary. There are free articles on asking for a raise once you have settled in your new career, dealing with performance reviews, and becoming your own boss. You can access tips on searching for jobs online, making the most of careers fairs, and networking for job opportunities. Other topics covered include finding industries that are hiring and working with recruiters to maximise your job options.
The Complete Guide to Career Change After 50 is a great overview for experienced employees seeking a midlife career transition. In it you can find useful information about making the change, such as working out exactly what you want from the change, taking a flexible approach to the change, and finding similarities and transferable skills to ensure a smooth transition.
There are practical tips on how to brand yourself for a career change, how to get involved on social media, and finalising your plan for the change. The guide rebuts some common myths about career changes relatively later in your career, and outlines what you can do to deal with these misconceptions.
Quintessential Careers offers a number of tools that might be useful for those changing careers, and these include a resume builder, sample resumes, and resume templates. However, the site also offers a free page of valuable resources for those thinking about making the change, including career assessment tools, useful articles and links to topics ranging from job hunting to interviewing, and tips on marketing yourself and telling your career story to prospective employers.
On the blog of coaching business Careershifters you can find hundreds of articles dealing with all aspects of making a major career change. The blog addresses psychological or mind-set aspects of making such as change, and it provides case studies of those who have made a successful transition. It also looks at how to deal with uncertainty, doubts, and other common issues during the process. There are tips on how to identify what career is right for you, articles about common mistakes made by those changing careers, how to make your idea profitable, and how to succeed at networking.