Considering a new career? Here’s some things to consider first.


Planned Resources recruit across the niche markets of planning, engineering, architecture and design, property, and government support. We operate​ across private and public sectors in Melbourne, Victoria, and Australia. Here, we provide some tips on what to consider if you’re thinking about a career change. 

Starting a new career as the new year commences can provide a fantastic opportunity for fresh beginnings, both personally and professionally.

There are many reasons why you might be considering a career change. Joblist’s Midlife Career Crisis Survey identifies that 47% of people change jobs seeking better pay, whilst 37% aim for better work-life balance. Whatever your motivations, changing careers often constitutes a major life change, and should only be pursued after careful consideration. If you think you might be ready to take the leap, consider the following four factors before making the change.

1. Make sure you really want to change careers

Before going too far down the career-change rabbit hole, it’s important to make sure that changing careers is actually going to remedy whatever issues you perceive to be stemming from your working life. In other words, it’s important to ensure that you are dissatisfied with your chosen career itself, rather than situational factors.

For instance, it may well be that the job dissatisfaction you are experiencing is stemming from a particular individual in your organisation or the lack of flexibility you are currently afforded. In such circumstances, you may be able to take steps that do not involve a complete career change. These could include contemplating internal procedures for managing a difficult employee, or perhaps instigating conversations around introducing greater workplace flexibility. It may also be the case that it is time for you to move on from your particular organisation. However, this doesn’t mean you are necessarily contemplating an entire career change, merely a change of workplace.

In order to identify the motivations behind your desire for a career change, you could consider keeping note of your reactions to various situations as they arise in your day-to-day job experience, perhaps in a journal. This may help you identify recurring themes and patterns, such as particular individuals or workplace practices that you find problematic. This can help you determine whether your dissatisfaction is related to the content of your work (which may indicate a career change is necessary) or simply situational factors.

2. Carefully consider what career your skills, values and financial circumstances suggest you should pursue

Identifying that you want to change careers is simply a preliminary step; next comes the more onerous task of pinpointing what career you want to change to. This is a decision that should be reached after careful consideration of your skills, values and financial circumstances. Considered reflection at this stage can help cement your decision to change careers, or may alternatively suggest that upskilling in your current profession, through development or further education, is preferable.

Identifying the ‘essence’ of what you want to do, firstly involves considering what skills or talents you want to utilise in your work. Examples of such skills include website design, people management and graphic design. Having identified what skillset your ideal role encompasses, your values will then help you determine what sort of business or organisational outcomes you want your career to support. For instance, you may be motivated by the prospect of generating greater profits, helping vulnerable communities or combatting climate change.

At this stage, it is also important to be aware of what motivates you at work. Some people may be predominantly motivated by their salaries, whilst others may place more value on a short commute, flexible working conditions or doing work that aligns with their sense of purpose. Moreover, considering what motivates you should also involve consideration of demotivating factors. These factors can include ‘deal-breaker’ issues such as long hours or a long commute. Identifying what does and does not work for you will ultimately help you identify potential career paths that align with your preferences.

It’s also important to ensure that your career change is compatible with your financial circumstances. This involves ensuring that the expected salary range is sufficient to support you (and/or your family), whilst also factoring in the likely cost of transitioning to the new career, which could include the time when you are unable to work, or beginning on a lower salary whilst you build your skills and networks. This reflective process is also a good time to consult with trusted family members, friends, professional contacts and perhaps even a career counsellor.

3. Avoid leaving in a hurry

If you can, try not to wait until you are desperately unhappy in your current career before you leave. This is because leaving a job about which you feel resentful may make it more difficult for you to ensure that you leave on the best possible terms with your current employer. It is ideal if you can leave your workplace with intact and positive relationships with people who respect you, who can act as references and who can also potentially help you grow into your new career. Leaving in a hurry may diminish your relationship with your current organisation, ultimately detracting from your ability to use your previous job to help launch your new career.

4. Ensure your change is the right one  

As has been emphasised, making a career change is a big decision that can have significant consequences. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure that your new career is right for you, before making the leap. For instance, you can spend some time job shadowing someone who works in the field/position you are considering changing to. You could also consider taking up a volunteer position in the industry. Contacting people on LinkedIn whose career path you may be seeking to emulate is also a good option, as is setting up informational interviews with prospective employers or organisations of interest. All these methods will help you gather information that will give you a greater indication of whether your identified career path is going to align with your skills, values and financial circumstances.

Good Luck!

There’s no doubt that making a career change is both a scary but important part of many people’s working lives. Making this change around the new year could represent an exciting new symbolic turning point in your life. However, a career change is not something to be rushed. The preceding four factors have hopefully explained some core factors which any person considering a job change should pay attention to.

By Planned Resources.

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