Four ways you can successfully change careers (even if it feels impossible)

We recently revealed the shocking statistic that 81% of women on maternity leave wanted to make a change in their life – but 58% failed to do so.

The reasons why they didn’t make the change they wanted are both emotional (lack of confidence) and practical (lack of time and childcare).

But, while we’re very aware (as mothers ourselves) of the very real restrictions that hold mums back in their careers, there are always ways to pursue your dreams if you’re determined enough – even if you do need to be more creative, determined and resilient.

Four ways you can successfully change careers (even if it feels impossible)

Changing career can feel like a daunting move for anyone – even without factoring in a baby or child, and the restrictions of childcare. But if you do want to change career, here are four ways you can get the ball rolling.

1) Start with part time or freelance jobs

If you’re not sure about making a big leap immediately, you can always try out a new line of work without quitting your old role by taking on side jobs in the particular field on a part time or freelance basis.

If you don’t the time, energy or childcare for a part-time job, why not see if you can start picking up freelance work in that sector? You don’t need to start pitching for big contracts – just ask around to see if anyone needs help with small jobs.

A successful stint working on small projects or a side job will boost your level of confidence, and give you an insight into whether you enjoy and are good at this type of work. And if you are, and you feel ready to make a change, you can look at making your side job your main job, or making a permanent leap to freelance status.

2) Start interviewing before you resign

One reason why many people don’t make the career change they want is fear of losing job security. But if you’ve proven your worth to a new company in the recruitment process, they’ll often wait for you to work out your notice period. So there’s nothing to stop you looking for a job before you’ve resigned from your old one.

So stop dreaming of a new career, and instead start taking positive action on your new one by checking out the latest CV templates, updating your CV and starting your job search.

There are two things to remember when taking this approach. First, make sure you stick to your commitment; if you agree to join a new company, then follow through with your promise. You may receive a lucrative counter offer from your current employer, but you mustn’t let that change your mind if you are serious about making a career change.

The second thing to keep in mind is the transition itself. Just because you move from one job to another with only a small gap between them, doesn’t mean there are no changes to take care of. You may still experience a gap in your monthly budget and challenges like having to commute to a new area.

3) Ask the experts

Social media enables you to connect with remarkable people from around the world, including industry leaders and experts in various fields. Through Twitter and LinkedIn, you can find out more about a field and the opportunities available by talking to experts directly.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions related to the career change you have in mind. You’ll be surprised by how many industry leaders actually take the time to help people  ut. The insight you get in return is also invaluable and it will help you prepare better for the leap.

4) Check you meet the requirements

Whether you are trying to move forward in your career or you want to sidestep into a new field, it’s important to be aware of the requirements you have to meet.

If you don’t meet some of the requirements, take the opportunity to acquire the experience or qualifications you need. If your new career requires specific skills, for instance, you can take short courses. Or if you lack experience in a particular area or skillset, try to find volunteering opportunities that will help you to tick that box.

Not only will your efforts help to demonstrate that you have all the skills and experience a future employer is looking for, but you’ll stand out as a proactive candidate with plenty of enthusiasm and initiative.

Start making the change you want

Just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean that you need to give up on your ambitions, identity or happiness. So if you believe you need to make changes in your life to feel content, fulfilled or challenged, then start planning the steps required to make them. And make sure you’re in that 42% who followed their dream.

Photo by Ellyot