Covid-19 has changed many people’s lives beyond recognition, and the world of work will probably never be the same again. As well evaluating issues such as work-life balance, Covid has also led to many professionals contemplating a career change, most notably while on furlough. Rather than plodding on in a job or career that gave them little satisfaction, they’ve decided to grasp the nettle and switch to something more rewarding. But how do you ensure that the grass definitely is greener and that the new career path will be everything you’re hoping for?

The best advice is to do your research and plan before you take the plunge – that way, you’ll be as ready as you can be for your new career. Here are our top ten tips for success:

1 Prepare
Buy a notebook and start noting down what you like and don’t like about your current position. This will build a picture of what’s important in your next role and, of course, those aspects you want to leave behind. Over the weeks – and possibly months – this will form the basis of what constitutes job satisfaction for you.

2 Be honest
If you’re going to find that dream job, you’ll need to be honest with yourself. Think about your skillset and identify any areas of weakness that you might need to address before applying for the new position.

3 Decide on your preferred industry
The last thing you want to do is jump ship to a new job or career and find that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Do your research thoroughly to make sure that the industry you think you’ll enjoy really is the one for you – research costs only your time, and your investment in this area will be well rewarded.

4 Brainstorm career roles
Once you’ve identified the industry you’re aiming for, think about the different roles within that sector and shortlist the ones you feel you’re qualified for. This is an important phase of your career change so it shouldn’t be taken lightly – the last thing you want to do is to switch to a position that doesn’t live up to your expectations.

5 Research your chosen roles
Having narrowed your selection down to a small number of roles within your chosen industry, try to talk to contacts who are already in that field to get their feedback. LinkedIn is a great resource for this – as well as talking to your existing connections, you may be able to connect with other members or join a relevant group to request input.

6 Make a plan
Now that your research is done you’ll have a really good idea of the way forward, but it’s also worthwhile to make a plan of action in terms of what it’ll take to secure the job you’re targeting. Consider things such as upskilling and networking. Do you need to do study for a new qualification, for example? Or would you benefit from joining a couple of networking groups in order to request introductions? As well as writing your plan, ensure that you develop a timeline for activity as that will help you retain your focus.

7 Review your personal brand
Changing career and landing that dream job will rely on a number of factors, not least of which is the quality of your personal brand. Jobhunting is a competitive activity, and there are likely to be multiple applicants for the position you’re applying for. Review your CV, write an engaging covering letter and check your social media feeds, especially LinkedIn. Remember to emphasise areas of your experience that are especially relevant and ensure that basic information – such as your contact details – is up-to-date.

8 Tap into your network
If you find that vacancies within your chosen sector are few and far between, don’t be afraid to ask your network of contacts for help. There’s every chance that among your LinkedIn connections, for example, there’ll be someone who is either in that line of work or who knows somebody who is. They can also keep an eye out for opportunities that may arise.

9 Retrain
Retraining will demonstrate to a potential employer that you’re committed to the role and that you’ve been prepared to educate yourself accordingly. And once you achieve the qualification, remember to update your CV and LinkedIn profile with the new details.

10 Track your applications
However many posts you’re applying for, it’s sensible to keep track of them in a spreadsheet. You can log the company name, the role, the date you applied and the progress you made in the application process. Changing your career can take time, so your spreadsheet will give you an overview of what’s working and what isn’t, and when you do achieve that dream move, looking back at your spreadsheet should give you a real sense of satisfaction at your achievement.

Rosa dos Santos, owner of Exact Sourcing, believes that while a career change can be good for the soul, it also needs to be planned carefully. ‘Here at Exact we speak to lots of candidates who are looking to change career, and the first thing we do is to talk to them about how they’re planning to achieve their goal,’ comments Rosa. ‘It can be risky to ditch your current job in the expectation that you’ll walk straight into a new position in a different industry, as there will probably be a large number of experienced candidates also applying. We work with our candidates to think carefully about every aspect of a career change before giving up the security of their existing role, and we believe that it’s that approach that’s most likely to succeed.’

Exact Sourcing is a recruitment agency in Cambridge and Newmarket, and we also serve Ely, Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Royston and Sawston. If you’re looking to change career and would like some advice, please contact us for an initial chat.