5 STEPS TO TESTING THE WATER BEFORE CHANGING JOBS
Ben Pike shows how to make a good transition to new work
GET A HOLIDAY JOB If the new industry lends itself to seasonal, casual or part-time hours for entry level staff, apply for a position that offers you a foot in the door. It may not be the desired role but can give an insight into the industry culture and skills required for more senior jobs. If you don’t like it, you can resign without having lost your day job.
Similarly, volunteering can give a glimpse into an industry culture or work environment as well as having the same easy exit if it’s not for you. This method is also a good way to impress prospective employers, who are more than willing to co-opt free labour – especially if you prove useful. It also shows that you are willing to give up your own time.
Unfortunately not everyone can be a supermodel or a rocket scientist. But for mere mortals aptitude tests are a good way of gauging whether they can realistically do the job and how much of an interest they really have. Skills can be developed but interest is a little more tricky. There is no point changing to a different career if you discover you hate it. There’s any number of these tests online. For those who prefer more face-to-face contact, careers advisers may be able to help tease out your motivations behind wanting to change jobs. A useful adviser will have a good grasp on who you are as a person and a professional.
ASK PEOPLE IN THE INDUSTRY
If getting part-time work is proving difficult, there is always the option of just asking. See if there’s a friend or family member who you can ask about their day-to-day experiences at work. Don’t be afraid to approach people even if you don’t know them, either by sending them an email or calling a workplace. Ask them if they can give you five minutes of their time to talk about how they broke into the sector, the industry’s prospects and if the work is what they thought it would be. Most people love talking about themselves.
It’s an obvious one but for most people this should be the first port of call. Blogs, websites and Youtube videos can give you a strong indication of what a job is like. Typing ‘‘ a day in the life of a journalist’’ into Youtube, for instance, brings up 3040 results. A blog is also more likely to be more honest in its appraisal of a career than a glossy brochure. Industry websites offer a good look into the industry right now.