There aren’t many people who know exactly what they want to do from a young age. I envied those who were certain they wanted a career as a police officer or a teacher when they grew up, because I had absolutely no fucking idea what my calling was.
I’ve had a few different careers since leaving university. Customer Care Rep, Insurance Consultant and whole bunch of different roles in IT, some based around accounting, but I never felt like I really belonged in any of them. No kid imagines growing up to be an insurance worker, I did it because the money was good.
After working my way to management and experiencing what many would call a “quarter-life crisis”, I took some time to consider what I really wanted to do with my life. I have many different interests, but the one thing I’ve always done well was write. So I started writing about things I love and eventually, I was able to make a career out of it.
But knowing what you want to do is only half the battle, you then have to convince an employer that you can do the job. Here’s how I did it and how you can too.
Identify your skills
Find aspects of your work that are transferrable to your desired career. Writing wasn’t a massive part of my job at the time, but it did play a role. I was creating a small amount of documentation and was able to leverage that on my resume to a certain extent.
Identify the transferable skills you have, along with the skills you’ll need to develop. You may even need some formal education depending on your chosen career. Look at TAFE or university courses that can close the gap if need be.
Get some experience
These days, most job ads will be calling on some kind of experience in the field, so you’re going to have to find some before you start applying for jobs.
I started looking through Pedestrian Jobs to see what was around and what I could do while still working full time. Luckily, there are usually a heap of volunteer contributor roles around to get you started. Being an avid music nerd, I picked up volunteer job writing weekly album reviews for a music blog. To diversify my experience, I also started freelancing for The Hip Pocket.
This allowed me to hone my writing skills, gain some valuable experience for my resume and continue bringing in a full-time wage.
You’ll need to sacrifice some of your own time, but if you’re serious about changing careers, it’ll be a no-brainer.
Look for opportunities in your current job
Keep an eye out for ways you can take advantage of opportunities in your current workplace. This will add even more experience to your resume and show your current employer that you are keen to take on new skills and experiences.
In my previous job, I identified a need for good quality documentation and video content for clients. The process at the time was that the manager of each department did their own documentation according to requirements. So while there was good content being created, there was no room in the workload of these managers to expand or explore other client-facing content.
I pitched the idea to management and they loved it. A new department was created and I was writing and creating video content full-time.
Once you get your break, you need to work really fucking hard. Simple as that.
After about a year of writing both full-time and in my own time, I had a resume fit for changing careers.
Luckily, I was offered to come on board as the editor of The Hip Pocket. My hard work paid off and I’m now working in the industry I want to be in.
As long as you have the drive, determination and work ethic to make it happen, there’s no reason you can’t make a career shift to were you really want to be.