How to Start A New Career (With Factors to Consider)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 22 November 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Starting a new career can be challenging, whether you're an entry-level employee or a seasoned professional looking to change career paths. Still, you can start a new career and achieve your professional goals with sufficient preparation and effort. Understanding how to start a career can make it easier to begin your professional journey or transition into a new one. In this article, we discuss the factors to consider before you start a career and explore how to begin a new career.
Factors to consider before you start a career
Here are some factors you can consider before you start a career:
One of the most important factors to consider when starting a career is your qualifications. Knowing your qualifications can help you determine what career options you can explore and how long it may take to attain your goals. For example, if you only have a high school diploma, you may not consider a professional career immediately. In addition to your academic qualifications, evaluate your technical and soft skills. For example, it may be easier to choose a career in a field where your transferable skills apply.
Your personality type may make you better suited for certain careers over others. Analysing your personality before deciding on a career path can help you pick a more rewarding career. You can consider various aspects of your personality, like your preferences, temperament and behavioural traits. For example, individuals who prefer to work as a team may enjoy careers that require a lot of collaboration. Similarly, an introverted person may appreciate a career that involves long hours doing solo tasks.
Your values are ideas that are important to you and core to your person. For example, you may have values relating to environmental protection, poverty alleviation or social equality. After determining your values, you can select a career path that allows you to advocate for them. Pursuing a career that aligns with your values can make you more passionate for and dedicated to your work, leading to greater productivity.
Entry requirements are the necessary achievements and credentials for starting a particular career. For example, some careers require a secondary school diploma and training, while others require a bachelor's degree and professional certifications. When you confirm a career's entry requirements, you can determine if that profession is a feasible option. For example, an older professional may be unwilling to spend years in school for a new degree. You can also consider other factors like cost, difficulty and eligibility after determining the entry requirements.
Your interests are activities or tasks you enjoy doing. They may be activities you do for payment or do in your free time. Evaluating your interests can provide valuable insights into careers you're likely to find rewarding. Not all interests make viable career options, so research professional opportunities related to your interests. Pursuing a career related to your interests can lead to greater morale, commitment and productivity.
Your financial expectations can also play a major role in your career choice. Certain roles pay better than others, though they may also require more training. Selecting a career that meets your financial needs ensures you remain satisfied and committed to your work. After determining your financial needs, you can research careers that can pay you in that range.
Another important factor to consider before starting a new career is the availability of jobs. Some careers may have fewer job openings in your location, making it harder to secure a job. You can use various government websites or job boards to determine the opportunities in your career of interest. If not, you can consider an alternative career or move to a location with more opportunities.
It's important to consider your goals before deciding on a career, as some have better prospects than others. For example, if your aim is to become a corporate executive, then it may be better to choose a career in a professional field. By considering your career goals, you can make more strategic career choices, which can aid your professional development. Considering your career goals also helps you increase your job satisfaction since you may be more happy in a career that you planned for and that suits your needs.
A talent is a skill that you either have naturally, like creativity, or develop through practice, such as playing an instrument. Your talents make you naturally inclined towards certain activities, such that you perform them better than the average person. Considering your talents can help you select a career that you find easier and more rewarding.
Certain areas of your personal life can impact the type of career you can do. For example, a nursing parent may prefer a career with more flexible work options. Ensuring your career aligns with important aspects of your personal life can make it more rewarding, reduce the risk of low morale or burnout and improve satisfaction.
How to begin a new career
Here are some steps you can follow to begin a new career:
1. Review your strengths and weaknesses
Before you start a new career, it's vital you review your strengths and weaknesses to determine the options available to you. To do that, get a paper and pen and find a quiet place where you can reflect. Then, make a list of your strengths, which include qualifications, skills, resources and connections. After that, you can make a list of weaknesses, which are factors that can hinder your goals. Writing these details down can help you develop an effective strategy to start a rewarding career.
Related: How to Write a Self-Evaluation
2. Create a shortlist of career options
With the insights you gained from your self-review, you can create a shortlist of career options you can explore. Ensure you consider all relevant factors to make a viable list. Then, you can rank the career options in the order of your preference by including details about each career option, such as its pros and cons. Highlighting all your options in a single location can make it easier for you to plan and make a decision. It also makes it easier to discuss your options with your friends, colleagues or mentors.
3. Speak to an adviser
A mentor is a colleague you go to for professional advice and guidance and usually has more experience in your career path. Speaking to a mentor before deciding on a career can be helpful, as they may have some useful tips for you. Your mentor can also provide valuable insights into some career options based on their experience. If you don't have a mentor, you can consider speaking to a trusted adviser or colleague. Based on their knowledge of your qualifications and attributes, you can discuss your career options with them and ask for their recommendations.
4. Obtain the necessary qualifications
After narrowing down which career you can try out, research the necessary qualifications. If there are any you don't have, then prepare to obtain them. This may require you to go back to the university for a degree or work some extra years to reach a certain experience level. Also, ensure you confirm if there are any legal eligibility requirements for your career. You can also research any licensing requirements you may require.
5. Create a CV
After obtaining the necessary qualifications, it's important you create a CV to reflect them. A CV is a compulsory part of most job applications that can prove your competence to the hiring manager. To create a CV, include a header, professional summary, education, work experience and skills section. Next, fill them in your most recent and impressive qualifications in each category. Ensure you include only qualifications that are relevant to your role.
6. Prepare for your application
Beyond your CV, there are other parts of the job application process that require preparation. First, you can practise how to write a cover letter, which is a brief document that often accompanies a CV. The cover letter details your qualifications, interest in the role and interest in the company. You can also prepare for your interview by downloading common questions and rehearsing with your friends and family.
Related: How to Write a Cover Letter
7. Apply for jobs
Finding a job can be a straightforward process with the right information. You can start your job search by checking various job sites for openings in your area. Similarly, you can leverage your personal and professional network by asking your friends and colleagues to recommend you for job openings. You can also contact companies you're interested in through their professional or social media platforms.
Networking is the process of creating and maintaining professional relationships. It's an essential part of starting a new career, as it helps you make contacts and access information. You can network by attending relevant industry or workplace events. During such events, bring your business cards so you can leave your contact details with people you meet.
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