My colleague and I were laughing recently about how in our recruitment days we would smirk over cheesy headlines in job ads such as ‘New Year, New Job?’ or ‘New Year, Time for a Change?

Jokes aside both summer holidays and the more obvious New Year often makes us reflect on how things are and what changes we need to make both in our personal lives and in our work.

There are other life events that make us take stock too, significant birthdays and the death of someone close.  As a career coach for over 20 years I am often asked how can I change career? Here are some of my top tips:

  1. Do self-assessment exercises: know what your skills, values, interests are and how that fits with the careers that you are considering.
  2. Also consider the environment you want to work in, the types of people you work well with and ideally the kind of life you want (you might want to discuss this exercise with your significant other especially your new direction might in include a life style or location change)
  3. Everyone will have an opinion but understanding (from self assessment) what you want and what you have to offer will be the foundation of your career thinking and make you feel more sure of yourself, in what can be an unsettling time
  4. If you are not sure what to do, explore different careers and talk to people interview them against your criteria (from your self assessment see point 1) for a career that would best suit you
  5. Approach people for advice (people love to talk about themselves) not a job as this may scare them off especially if they don’t immediately have a job to offer. How did you get into this field? What do you love about what you do? What is not so great?
  6. While I advocate a structured approach do also listen to your intuition or gut. Take time out for meditation or even just a walk in the woods can help you tap into your intuitive side, making decisions easier.
  7. See if you can test the water by volunteering or take some holiday to do an unpaid internship. It’s rare these are offered to adults changing career so you will need to be persistent in approaching people yourself. This is important for you to check this is the right direction but also gives evidence of your commitment to future employers
  8. Use LinkedIn to find out more about new areas by joining groups in the field you are considering. Via your settings you can make these groups hidden if you don’t want to share your exploration with your co-workers or boss.
  9. Plan – you may need new skills, qualifications or a stockpile of money. Dr Richard Wiseman author of 'How psychology can improve your life in 60 seconds' found in 2 psychology studies that people who made plans were more likely to succeed than those that didn’t
  10. Be resilient. In 'The 8 traits successful people have in common' , Richard St John interviewed 500 successful people from Bill Gates to Goldie Hawn to distill what makes people successful -  he found you have to persist through CRAP. Criticism, Rejection, Arseholes and Pressure!

Speaking from the experience of a serial career changer (until I worked out what I should be doing in 1999) I can confirm it is hard at times, but now I do something I love, it is very satisfying. Work takes up such a large part of your life so doing work you enjoy is a goal worth putting some effort into.

'Taking charge of your career" is available to buy now on Amazon.