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5 tips for changing careers

14 January 2018

Changing careers can change your life in a big way. It’s important to be passionate about your work… considering you spend about a third of your life there!

But, a career change can also take a lot of courage. Not only does it take confidence to pursue your professional goals, changing things up can make an impact on your finances. Sometimes a career change means undergoing professional development activities, signing up to short courses to learn new skills, or even starting up as an entrepreneur. Whatever your dream for your future is, a fresh start is often an exciting and ultimately rewarding journey.   

Here, we provide some handy tips on changing careers.   

1. Spend time researching 

It may sound like ditching the corporate life to run your own bookshop café is a great idea. However, before you take the leap, make sure you have a good think about your ideal career situation first. Work is more than just the tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis. It also involves the people you work with (can you handle dealing with customers every day?), the environment you’re in (are you okay to be on your feet for 8 hours a day?), and even the hours you put in (can you afford to skip school pickups most days?).

Take the time to consider your ideal working life, like how you structure your day and whether you like to work alone or collaboratively. Knowing this stuff can help you explore your interests further. For example, if you like to work as a part of a team and you’re interested in technology and app development, then a move into the web development space might be a good fit.  

Better yet, seek external advice. Talk to connections within the industry you’re thinking of transitioning to, as well as career counsellors or education providers to get a better understanding of what career pathways exist. 

2. Get your finances in order

Career changes can be costly. It may involve dropping a pay bracket as you start from the bottom in a new industry, or perhaps investing in some study. 

A budget can help you through a career change, especially if you’re out of a job and doing further study or earning a lower income. You can keep track of your costs and income by including ongoing expenses like school fees, mortgage or rent, and ensuring you have money set aside to cover other expenses that can unexpectedly arise.   

Our budget calculator can help you get started. Input your regular expenses, your study expenses and your income to see how much excess you’ll have.

Be realistic about your financial goals. It’s a good idea to work out what the average salary is for your new role, and see if it meets the needs of you and your family. Sometimes a career change may lead to periods of unemployment, so it’s best to have your finances in order.  

3. Focus on your transferable skills

Career transitions don’t happen overnight – unless you’ve got all the necessary skills and contacts to achieve this – so examine your skillset and look at what you’re good at, i.e. what can be transferred into your new career. For instance, if you’re a team leader now, you might have developed skills in management, team leadership and mentoring, all skills that can make you an asset to any employer.  

Also, being able to communicate your skills to your new employer will make a big difference. For example, you could identify specific transferrable skills by looking through job ads and searching for common skills, then use this language on your CV. 

4. Think about studying further

Undertaking further study can equip you with the skills you need to leap into an exciting new career. Lots of education providers allow the option to study online or part time, which means you could also continue to work while you study. You could even use some accrued leave to complete a short course to gain the skills you’ll need for your career transition. 

5. Consider using a personal loan for study

Depending on what your plans for your future are, you may need to pick up some new skills and knowledge by enrolling in a course. A personal loan for study may be able to help you pay for things, like: 

  • Textbooks
  • Materials related to your studies, like art supplies or computer equipment
  • Course costs not covered by HECS/VET, for example for a private college or school 

By completing further study, you may need to work hard and save harder in the immediate, but you can be rewarded with a more fulfilling job with potentially better earning potential. If you meet the eligibility criteria for a Suncorp student personal loan, you may be able to get help with working towards that fulfilling career.

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Information is intended to be of a general nature only and any advice has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. You should make your own enquiries, consider whether advice is appropriate for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Product Information Document before making any decisions about whether to acquire a product

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