8 ways to make a successful career change

8 ways to make a successful career change

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

The thought of changing your career can seem like a daunting and overwhelming experience. We've put together a guide to help you understand how to make the change you need.


Job satisfaction is hard to come by. Research shows that the percentage of people in the UK who are unhappy in their jobs increased between 2019 and 2020. If you count yourself as one of these people then what should you do?  

 1. Decide what you want to change and why 

Are you changing your career because your current role is unfulfilling? Is it the people you work with? Do you think you could earn more in a different job? Bear in mind that if you want to change your entire career, it’s likely you’ll need to start from scratch. This could mean looking at junior roles and potentially accepting a big pay cut. But this doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker if it’s your dream job and there’s scope for progression in the future. 

 2. Assess your skills 

What can you take to a new career? What will you need to learn firstIt’s more than likely that you’ll have learned useful, transferable skills in your current job. Even if the career your looking at is completely different, you’ll still have useful experience in your background. For your new job, research what skills you’ll need. That way you can think about how your skills apply to your new career and what you’ll need to build on.  

3. Speak to others 

If you know someone who’s connected to the industry you’re interested inthey can offer insights you might not have thought of. They’ll be able to give you tips and point out what attributes youll need. Perhaps they can put you in touch with a contact to help you get your foot in the door. It’s all about networking! 

If you don’t know anyone in your preferred career, then find a contact. If you would like a career in the NHS, contact your local NHS trust. Most people are usually happy to answer questionsLinkedIn is a popular resource for getting in contact with company employees.  

4. Be realistic  

You may find that some jobs have a limited market right now. Use job sites such as Indeed to thoroughly explore what’s available. See how many job openings there are and which skills are sought after. Many companies advertise job openings on their own websites too. This will give you an idea of who’s hiring or if roles are hard to come by. You can get some ideas from our list of UK employers who often advertise vacancies. If they’re not hiring right now, then all’s not lost – stay updated and check regularly.  

5. Find out whether you need to retrain  

Sometimes you can train on the job and other times youll need to go to college first. The Open University is a good starting point and could give you ideas about what you could go on to do. Volunteering, if it is an option, is another way to gain experience in a new field and is something you may be able to fit around your current job. 

 6. Consider funding  

If you do need to retrain or study then it’s likely that you’ll need some funding to help you through. Turn2Us is a directory for bursaries and funding opportunities for someone looking to enroll in further education. You could also look into the government’s Advanced Learner Loan 

 7. Brush up on your interview skills.  

Interviews can be scary and if its been a while since your last one then even more so. Some people breeze through them, others don’t. Practice with a friend - if you can keep a straight face. Remember, the more interviews you go to, the better at them youll become. If you’re unsuccessful, this doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Youve merely taken a learning step on the path to your new career. You can always ask for feedback to find out how you can improve next time.

8. Be ready to make a change  

If you feel like you can’t progress in your current career and you’re looking to do something different then be brave. It can seem like a big challenge, but if you’re fully prepared then it can be a smooth transition.  

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Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Neate

By Sarah Neate

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8 ways to make a successful career change 8 ways to make a successful career change