You might have already a clear idea in mind of which career you want to pursue. If you don’t, we can assure you this is one of the most challenging tasks. There are hundreds of different career ideas, yet everything seems to be beyond your reach and it’s hard to compete with everyone.
So, the question is: with so many careers available out there and many people already experienced, where do you even begin to look to find your way?
The first step to finding your dream career is to consider several opportunities that exist for discovering a great career idea.
In this chapter, we will go through these career opportunities that you must familiarise yourself with. Understanding the opportunities is key to identifying your own career ideas.
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This is the list of types of opportunities for finding new ideas, then we will dig into more details for each of them:
Simply knowing what you don’t want to do and what you don’t like, is not enough. Overcoming your own obstacle means answering questions about yourself. If you are stuck in your job, whether it’s the 9-5 + weekends, that some people call the “rat race”, or you simply don’t like what you are doing as a job, you need to assess the real possibilities to do something different with your working life.
This approach requires some degree of research of your own opportunities and risks, so the questions are: What are your skills? What is your personality type? And finally, what are your work options?
Everyone will answer differently to these questions, but it’s important, to be honest, to give yourself a realistic opportunity for a new career.
“It wasn’t until I left my job that things began to happen”
Example: Rob Byrne works as a chef on a superyacht in Italy and cooks for 35 crew. But Rob was working at a builder’s merchant for over 10 years and his motivation for the job was decreasing, he felt that there was much more to life than simply sitting in the office. Rob then started questioning everything he was doing and began to explore opportunities to be a chef, since he was always interested in cooking. He eventually graduated with a diploma in Nutrition and Weight Management and landed a job in the superyacht.
This opportunity requires a different approach and mindset than the previous one. Building an interesting brand means also building an audience. And this means you must have a superior understanding of what your potential customers need, want and what their problems are. If you can build a great audience, this can be the differentiating factor that could lead to success in a very competitive market.
To make things easier, it’s better to relate to an audience to which you share already problems, expectations and aspirations. If you can put yourself into the shoes of your prospects you are in a better position to build a great audience because you know how to communicate to them.
“Everyone gets old, how quickly is up to you.”
Example: Helen Tite in her thirties was an interior designer in America. However, long hours, up and down the country, bad food choices and highly stressed environment were the cause of Helen’s obesity. She became significantly overweight, suffered post-natal depression and was scared she couldn’t see her own children grow up.
This lifestyle made her understand problems obese and old people have, not a just physical problem but also psychological problems and she used this understanding to build her own brand icareimove. Despite operating in the extremely crowded and competitive space of elderly care, Icareimove broke through by telling a different and unique story, one where its founder suffered from depression and obesity and is now over 60-year-old and happy.
This is a unique story of a career change and of a brand that made Helen a successful personal trainer for the elderly in the UK.
One of the best ways to make a career change is when your previous career has a time end. Nobody can do the same thing forever, there will be a time in life when your career will end. When this time comes, you need to be prepared to switch to something new and equally rewarding but the huge advantage is that you know well in advance when your career will end, which gives you time to prepare.
This advantage is crucial, you can take time to research, try and validate your new career before you even start it.
Example: Lora Fachie MBE is a Paralympic champion and won the Gold Medal at Rio 2016. She is now busy defending her title for Tokyo 2020, but she knows already now that her career in cycling cannot last forever because it will come to a natural end after 2020. She is already taking steps towards preparing for her new career as a nutritionist today and to arrive fully prepared in 2021.
Following a career change, sometimes you might end up in failure because you have chosen to do what really spices you up and you haven’t considered feasibility. However, this isn’t always the case, and it can actually prove to be quite successful. People who are passionate about their businesses benefit from strong tenacity compared to those who do a job just because “why not”. This point is very important as motivation will help you through major setbacks and failures.
Example: Craig O’ Toole began ManAlive as a personal passion in sport and fitness. During his completely unrelated job as a gardener, one day Paul read an article about Personal Training in a magazine, he had already a degree in sports technology so and went all in to become a fitness trainer. Eventually, he graduated as a personal trainer and started ManAlive. A brand that helps over 200 members, guys like Craig, to get back in shape without going to the gym.
In your career change, it would help a lot to have a competitive advantage over others doing the same thing. One of the best advantages you can have is turning your expertise into a job. And this doesn’t only mean turning a previous job into another job, it can also be an unpaid activity into a job.
Once you have gained lots of expertise in one area of work, whether it’s your passion or your duty, you raise the standards and it will be more difficult for other people to replicate your success.
Example: Sarah Marston became a mum and like every mum, she became an expert in prenatal and postnatal issues. She used her years of knowledge as a mum and a formal degree in Fitness, to run postnatal health and fitness classes, which run in 6-week blocks and act as an introduction for new Mums back to fitness. The programme is targeted at mothers at least 12 weeks postpartum and babies up to 6 months are welcome in the studio as supportive observers! She has called the programme ‘MumMe Fit’.
When you research a new career, you can also look at the current market, focus on what’s broken or what’s imperfect and provide a better solution. It can also be an improved service or more efficient marketing of a product, anything that will give you a competitive advantage.
Example: Gill Hampson really wanted to start a career in Pilates, but it was difficult to teach due to local competition in her hometown in Somerset. But she noticed that all the classes in her area were in the day – perhaps targeting more older people. You can get DVDs and watch videos, but Pilates is something that you need to be taught. So, she decided to improve the current offering of Pilates in her town and started teaching Pilates in the evening to older people. Nobody was doing this.
The Internet is without any doubt the place most people spend their time searching for new things all the time. Finding opportunities online means finding the careers opportunities that are really popular. On Google, most of the things you search are measured by volumes and keywords. Keywords are the search terms that people search and volumes are the total amount of searches, normally measured per month.
Looking for opportunities on Google is then reduced to looking for keywords that are high in volume. How do you find these stats?
You can use Google Trends to explore search terms trends and see if they are popular over time. This research can be done in parallel with more deep researches of a keyword in a particular area. This activity can become quite technical because we enter the field of digital marketing, but if done correctly can uncover gaps in the market and opportunities for new careers.
In the image above, you can see the trends and search volumes on Google UK for “how to become a personal trainer” in blue and “how to become a nutritionist” in red.
Example: Joe Hopkins built his own website about personal trainers in Portsmouth because he found a niche keyword. On Google, the two words “Personal Trainer” and “Portsmouth” represented a market gap. He has done lots of research on which keywords could bring the most traffic to his new business from Google. He is now ranking on top position for those keywords.
From the images above, you can see that Joe’s business was able to rank #1 on Google for the search term “Fitness Trainer Portsmouth”.
Make yourself familiar with these 7 opportunities types to be able to discover new career change opportunities and have a great start on a new career. In the next article, we are going to look at the best 6 places where to find new career ideas.
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