Should You Re-train for a New Career?

Have you been considering going back to school?  Are you interested in starting a new career?  Re-training is a considerable investment, both of your time and money, but if you are currently spinning your wheels in your career, it may be worth it.  You don’t want to jump into this lightly; you need to carefully determine whether or not it is the right move for you.  Here are some points to consider when you are thinking about going back to school:

Have you found that you are not a competitive candidate for many jobs?  If your qualifications are not measuring up to the demands of the current labour market, then re-training may be your best option.  If you’ve been in the same position for a long time, of if you’ve been very focused on one particular area, the labour market can shift away from your skills without you even realizing it.  Once you notice that trend, it’s important that you take control and update your profile.

Are there any opportunities to do something a little different within your current industry or company?  There may be opportunities within your organization or your industry for you to get a new position without re-training.  These positions may make use of your transferable skills and could offer you more opportunities than your current role.  Before you decide to start from scratch and find something completely different, open your eyes to the options that are all around you.

Are you unhappy in your current job?  Do you hate your current job?  Is it interfering with the way that you want to live your life?  If so, then that is a good reason to find something new.  Life is too short to be stuck in a job that you hate and it is important for you to find a work-life balance that you can live with.  If you are able to find a position that you’re happy with, then you should go ahead and do that.  However, if you need to go back to school to get some additional skills, then it may be the best option for you.

Once you decide that you do want to go back to school, you need to determine what you will take.  Here are some points to consider when looking at your options:

Are there jobs readily available?  Once you’ve decided on the program that you’re going to take, check the job advertisements and see how many positions are available right now.  You don’t want to spend the time and money going back to school only to end up in the same position that you are in now.  It’s also a good idea to research the future projections for these positions.  There are several government websites that provide a lot of information on the labour market outlook.  You can also get this information by talking to people who actually work in the field.  Conduct information interviews and ask them if the qualification that you would be getting is marketable.  All this research can take a lot of time, but think of all of the hassle it will save you if it prevents you from making a big mistake!

Would you like the work?  For any job that you decide to pursue, it is important that you have a realistic idea of what it will be like on a daily basis.  Try to sit down and talk to someone who works in the field, and try to get the opportunity to job shadow someone who is working in your target position for a few days.  Sometimes the daily realities of a position may be very different from what you may expect.

Would you be good at it?  Is there something that you have been doing as a hobby that you may be able to segway into a career?  Is there a particular job that people have always said you would be good at?  Keep your skills, talents, and personal attributes in mind when you are trying to decide on a new career.

Re-training for a new career can be a scary proposition.  It is risky and it requires you to make some sacrifices.  The secret is to find a position that truly is in demand and that is a good match for both your skills and your interests.  Once you find a good fit, you’ll be happier in your career than ever before.


(Written by:  Karen Bivand)

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