Committing to change careers isn’t an easy decision, especially when your career clock is ticking.

However, the reality is that most of us will see a varied career path throughout our lives whether we consciously decide to make a change or not. In fact, the average tenure in a job is just three years and four months. This means young workers today will have an average of 17 different employers in their lifetime, and five separate careers.

So, whether you’re in your 20s or your 50s, making a career change comes down to thorough planning and research. Here are some of the key steps to take to put you on a successful new career path.

Consider your career options

Although you may not see yourself working in your current field much longer, it’s important to have a plan of action in place before you throw in the towel. Think about what you want to achieve from a new career, what your values are, and what professional pursuits you derive the most satisfaction from.

Take a look at job listings to pinpoint roles that are in line with your goals and would utilise your current skill set and experience in some capacity.

Assess your transferrable skills, values, and interests

While you may not have on-the-job experience in your new chosen career field, it’s worth considering what transferrable skills and experience you have that would be sought-after in your new career.

Even if you don’t have specific applicable training, soft skills like problem-solving and the ability to communicate effectively are desired in many industries and can go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door of a new industry.

Consider how your values and interests fit in with the career you’re aiming for – and be sure to highlight these as clearly as possible in job applications and interviews.

If you find that there are major gaps in your skill set or essential skills required in your new sector, consider undertaking further training or study to give you the credentials you need to make a move.

RELATED: Top 5 soft skills to demonstrate in an interview

Speak the language of your new industry

Look at job postings and company websites in the sector you want to transition into to see the keywords and phrasing they use. When you go on to apply for jobs and attend interviews, speaking the employer’s language will show that you’ve done your research and that you already have an understanding of the sector.

Be prepared to make a lateral career move

If you’re serious about making a career change, it’s important to understand that career progression may be slow to begin with, and you may even need to take a step back in terms of seniority. Think about what the repercussions would be of changing careers (like taking a pay cut, for example) and the life adjustments you could make to facilitate a smoother transition.

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