As the old saying goes: Life happens.
Even the most well-thought-out plan will be influenced by events and changes in our lives and the world around us. Excitement about a new and growing field, boredom or disappointment with an existing career path, and changes in personal circumstances are just a few of the many reasons that people change their career path.
Career changes have been a popular point of conversation this year due to the pandemic. Earlier this summer, we spoke to postsecondary students in Canada about the impact COVID-19 had on their career plans. Of the 90 international students who responded, about half said that they were planning to change their career plans. This was specifically a result of having lived through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes this was because of company closures and layoffs, sometimes this was because of curiosity about a sector that became incredibly important.
Before You Make the Jump
Making a career change can be a big and difficult decision. It is important to consider your reasons for leaving your current plan and embarking on a new one. Your reasons and considerations may include some of the following:
- Emotions will likely play a role in considering a career change, whether it is feeling frustrated or hopeless about your career or excitement and curiousity about a new opportunity.
- Personal considerations may arise, such as changes to your family circumstances, financial stability, or your location.
- New opportunities may appear while you’re in Canada. Different countries have different industries of note, so you may discover new ones as you become more settled in Canada. It is also possible that you will encounter roles with better support systems, stability, and/or financial opportunities may arise.
- New barriers may also appear in your journey that give you pause, such as wide spread layoffs, greater competition for a work opportunity, or working conditions that you are not satisfied with.
Writing these down can help you assess your reasons and whether you feel they are sufficient to step forward into a career change.
How to make the change
If you’re considering a career change, here are some important steps that you can take:
- Do your research about new opportunities. New opportunities are very exciting, and you may want to pursue it right away. This makes it even more important to do your diligence and thoroughly research the opportunity and associated career path to make sure that it is a good fit for you and your goals.
- Consider how your skills and education could apply to another sector. As part of your research, don’t forget to consider deeply whether your existing education and skills could apply to the new role. Some career changes may require additional education, especially for regulated profession in Canada such as health care and engineering. Others will simply require some patience and attention as you transition.
- Talk to personal and professional contacts. Ultimately, your career path will be your decision, but members of your professional and personal networks can provide valuable insight. They may be able to help you consider new angles, warn you about obstacles or point you to supports and connections.
- Connect with a career coach. A career coach can be a particularly valuable, objective resource as you consider whether a career change is the right move for you. They can help you assess the costs and benefits of a change, and outline the steps you will need to take to enter into a new career.
If you would like a hand finding a new opportunity, Devant’s career coaches are here to help. Our experts are equipped and ready to help international students and graduates build long-term careers in Canada.