For many people, staying stagnant in their careers is less than ideal. It can leave you feeling bored, unchallenged, and unsatisfied. If this is you, it might be time to explore new opportunities, take the leap and change careers.
However, that’s easier said than done and changing career paths can be a daunting task. We’re sharing all you need to know on making the big decision to change careers.
Why Do You Want to Change Careers?
People have many different reasons for considering switching careers. Here are some examples of why people often make a career switch, and as you can see, there is no such thing as one size fits all!
- Lack of job satisfaction: Feeling unfulfilled, unchallenged, bored in your current position.
- Your passion lies elsewhere and life is too short, it’s now or never!
- Lack of progression opportunities: Feeling stagnant with little or no prospect of advancement or growth opportunities and the desire for bigger earning potential
- Work life balance: Your current career doesn’t suit your changing circumstances.
While changing careers and making that leap can be a fantastic way to start a new adventure, find new opportunities and develop professionally, it may not be the best choice for everyone. Switching careers requires careful planning and preparation. It
is a significant and often life altering decision that requires careful consideration. Lack of adequate investment of time and effort in researching the change could have damaging consequences.
- Perhaps the new field you’re considering has limited progression or even job opportunities?
- Do you have the required transferable skills to make the change or will upskilling be needed first?
- Are there significant financial constraints in your life that should take priority?
Whatever the reason, it’s important to carefully consider the potential risks and indeed rewards before switching career paths.
Is It Too Late to Change Careers?
Simply put, it is never too late to change careers. A linear career path is not as common as maybe it once was in the past. There is no such thing as an “appropriate age” to change careers. If it’s right for you, it’s right for
you, whatever your age.
It is a common myth that people in their 40s and 50s cannot successfully make a career change. In reality, this age group has many advantages on their side — experience, network, motivation, transferable skill sets — that can be an asset when
transitioning to a new career.
Switching Career Paths: What to Consider
There are several things to consider when switching career paths. Here’s a few and why they are important in the decision making process:
- State of the industry you are considering: Before committing yourself to a career change, it's important to analyse the industry trends and future projections to ensure that you're making a sustainable decision. Is the industry growing
making jobs available? Is there demand for the specific skills and expertise, are salaries competitive? Understanding the state of the industry is essential and can help you make informed decisions, increasing the chance of finding fulfilling
and stable employment.
- Self assessment of skills/skills gap for new career path: When considering moving careers it’s important to assess whether your current skill set meets the requirements of the new job or industry you are interested in moving
into. If you identify gaps, it may be necessary to upskill and it’s important
that you do! Addressing skills gaps can make you more competitive in the jobs market and additionally, candidates showing commitment to continuous professional development are valued by employers and this is looked upon favourably.
- Step down in salary/designation: Sometimes when moving industries it may be necessary to begin at an entry level position or accept a reduced salary than your current. It’s important to set realistic expectations and understand
that a pay cut may be necessary. For many, a mid-life career switch brings with it the necessity to consider other personal financial commitments and how a career change with a potential step down in salary will fit with the needs and wants that
are already very much established in your life.
- Slower growth rate: Similar to the salary consideration, changing careers often means starting over in a new field at entry level or a level below that which you have come from. However, this can also give you the chance to learn
new skills and gain valuable experiences that can lead to promotion and movement up the ladder in the long run but this may be slower than you would like.
- Lose contact with friends and colleagues: Social connections and support are important for overall well being. A big career move can result in loss of contact with old colleagues and friends which can be challenging when they have
for perhaps many years been a source of friendship and enjoyment Monday to Friday, 9-5. Consider how you will feel starting fresh surrounded by new and unfamiliar faces.
How to Switch Careers If You’ve Made Up Your Mind
So you’ve made the decision, now what? Gearing up for a big career change is like anything in life: if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Changing careers can be a long and arduous process; it’s not going to happen overnight. But once you’ve made up your mind, and with the right mentality and a solid plan, you can relaunch your career and find your happy place at work once again.
Here’s some pointers on where to start:
- Research roles and job descriptions: Find out what types of jobs are out there, what employers are looking for, and where you fit in. You may need to upskill before making that all important application. See below for more on this.
- Tackle skills gaps for their new career path: As mentioned above, there may be new skills you need to master before making your career change happen. Find out the must-haves and nice-to-haves from a skills point of view for the new
role you are aiming for. The job description is one of the best places to start. The more drastic the career change, the steeper the learning curve and the bigger the skills gap can be. For example, depending on the field, you might need to study
for a whole new qualification so it’s important you have a plan in place to allocate the necessary time, commitment and resources to close that skills gap.
- Secure mentoring, internships and volunteering opportunities within companies and institutions in their chosen new field: One of the best ways to research a role you’re interested in is to live a “day in the life”
or complete a job shadowing exercise. This will ensure you are exposed to the ins and outs of what the job entails and will give you an opportunity to put questions to the people currently working in the field, and see if it’s really all
you thought it would be!
- Study job descriptions and attend career fairs to assess how to meet new candidate criteria: People often think careers fairs are for college students, and while college students may be the primary audience expected, there are a huge
number of advantages to attending in advance of a potential career jump. Career fairs offer opportunities for networking, building confidence, practising your elevator pitch, and getting face-to-face with potential employers. Also in attendance
at most fairs are recruiters offering seminars and workshops on anything from brushing up your CV, to interview skills and more.
- Tailor CV in such a way that your transferable skills are highlighted: New industry, new CV. It’s important that your CV is tailored to not only the role you are applying to but also the industry. Compare your CV to the job
description and highlight where you are ticking the employers boxes. Most likely, there will be some technical skills gaps, in this case it’s important to highlight and emphasise what you do bring to the table in terms of transferable skills
and address any other gaps in your CV honestly. Speak to an industry recruiter to identify
what employers are looking for in a CV, get their advice and use their experience recruiting the right candidates.
Best Way to Market Yourself in a Cover Letter When Switching Careers
The cover letter is your opportunity to highlight your transferable skills and explain how they can be applied to the new position or industry. Be sure to emphasise your enthusiasm for the new opportunity, your passion and willingness to learn. Explain
how your experience to date can be translated to the new industry you’re applying to. Remember the goal is to market yourself as a strong candidate for the position, even if you don’t yet have direct experience, and convince the employer
that you have what it takes to succeed in the role.
Best Career Change Options
In terms of the job market, now is a great time to make the move if a career change is already on the cards. The Irish job market is growing more competitive in its search for quality candidates across several industries. Some of the fastest growing industries
in Ireland, and therefore offering some of the best potential career change opportunities include:
- Technology and Digital Industries
- Medtech and Biopharmaceutical Industries
- Food Manufacturing and Beverage Industries
Are these industries not of interest? Explore other in-demand jobs in Ireland.
How Can Innopharma Education Help You
For many industries, such as the pharmaceutical, food science, medtech and digital transformation industries,
education is a primary factor in “climbing the work ladder” or jumping from one ladder to another. This is where Innopharma Education can help you.
With reskilling and upskilling courses, diploma programmes, and master’s programmes, we can assist you in furthering your career and making that career switch. Additionally, we offer extensive career support from developing that all important CV,
preparing for interviews and building on the necessary transversal skills required to succeed.
Learn about Barry’s experience changing careers following the completion of our Level 8 Higher Diploma in Biopharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturing:
“The course helped me gain the skillset I needed to move into the medical devices sector. It gave me the entry language and tools that I needed. I think the course along with the transferable skills I already had made the difference in helping me to gain a management position as a supervisor,” says Barry. “The lecturers have vast experience in the medical device and pharma sector. The interview practice module is also something that helps you prepare for work interviews which you won’t get in a standard college course.”
If you’re ready to start advancing your career in the MedTech, Pharmaceutical, Food Science, or Digital Transformation industries,
then we’re here to help!
Explore and learn more about our applied science programmes and courses. Or talk to someone from our team to discuss
your career goals and see how we can help.