You have learnt the seven opportunities for a career change in the previous chapter, now it’s time to dig into new career change ideas.
I think you'll agree with me when I say: it's really hard to find new career ideas when you don't have any.
You might already know what you want to do and how you want to start. If you don’t, keep reading because it turns out you can quickly and easily find new career ideas by applying these 8 tactics below. And you won't just find new ideas, you'll feel inspired to make a move in your career too.
In this chapter, we will look at the most popular places to find career ideas that inspire you.
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Before we dig into the ideas, please remember that when deciding which career is right for you, don't stop at the job titles that are popular, very well paid, or trendy, or easy to do. All these jobs also show very high competition, so you need to choose a different angle. Try to look at how some service is delivered and improve on the delivery, try to imagine new ways and new markets for a job.
Before we start listing the places where to find career ideas, let’s see what you shouldn’t do:
- Do not send CVs to recruiters: it’s a brutal experience. Especially if you try to change career and do something of which you have no experience whatsoever, even if you have a lot of passion and enthusiasm. Just don’t share your CV, it will save you from negative, unconstructive feedbacks.
- Do not involve happiness at work. Unfortunately, happiness is not a measure of success in today’s society. Growth is the measure of success: companies want to grow, the economy wants to grow, people want to grow. If companies or society do not grow, we have everyone panicking. However, growth doesn’t mean happiness. This is the problem: our happiness is directly related to our growth at work, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Because happiness is related to biology, it’s a simple biological reaction and you can’t always control it. So, don’t involve it in work, as you will always be frustrated if you wait for happiness.
- Do not look at what others do. A friend or a family member is good at their work and you think you could be good too? Think again, why? Why would you be good? Maybe they have skills you don’t have, maybe they are more prepared to challenges, maybe they enjoy and have a passion. Do you too?
Now that we have seen what not to do, let’s have a look at what you can do.
In summary, this is the list of inspirational things you could do to find new ideas for your career:
- Shadow people. Shadowing people means making connections and getting involved in their jobs. The problem you try to solve at this stage is to find a new career that you didn’t even know it existed. So, do not close any door.
- Experiment new career ideas, for a change. When looking for career ideas, there isn’t any decision to make, we just need to do things. The only difference is that instead of doing something that requires lots of time, we can split it into experiments. This way, the big decision is broken down into sub-decisions and we feel safe that we do the right thing.
- You have a problem and you want to fix it. This idea can stop every search for career ideas. You simply have a problem and you want to find the right way to fix it, or you might have had a problem for a long time and now you finally came up with a new solution.
- Get new ideas from career advice websites. One of the best ways to find new career ideas is to visit career-related websites. Reading pieces of advice, completing personality quizzes, checking market trends are some of the types of activities you can do on these websites, that give you a great idea of what your real situation is regarding a particular job.
- Get new career ideas from newspaper & magazines. This approach is not about uncovering new career ideas, but rather following your favourite journalists, reading their opinions and discovering a new source of information on the topic that interests you the most.
- Attend local events. Your dream career might be just around the corner. Sports events, theatres, cinemas, concerts, festivals are organized and managed by qualified staff. Paying attention to their job roles, seeing how they interact with people, understand their skills can be a great source of inspiration for your new career.
- Use LinkedIn to network and learn. LinkedIn is organized not just in people’s profiles but also in groups, topics and hashtags, it’s very easy to find a new career idea quickly.
- Find jobs at Freelance Services Platforms. If you have an idea of your career change and of what you’d like to do, just search a similar service on freelance services platforms and read the reviews that people leave to the sellers, maybe filter by the best seller to see what angle he is offering and try to understand why he is doing better than others.
Shadowing people means making connections and getting involved in their jobs. The problem you try to solve at this stage is to find a new career that you didn’t even know it existed. So, do not close any door. Leave doors open, open your mind and ask lots of questions to people, both to those that are part of your life and to strangers.
Because you never know where the ideas are coming from. Truck driver or teachers, doctors or CEOs, assistants or cleaning ladies. Everyone can give you a clue, their knowledge and experiences are very different from yours so make sure you hear from all of them.
Example: let’s take myself an as an example, I am the author of this guide, my name is Luca and I didn’t know 10 years ago I would be working online, let alone for Future Fit Training. My career change idea is very simple looking at it now. But 10 years ago, I was a consultant in Brussels for the EU and I had no idea I needed career change until the financial crisis hit me like a stone and I lost my job in 2008. I couldn’t find a new one in the same industry. I spent months sending CVs and receiving no replies at best and negative replies, at worst.
So, I started to think about alternatives, I knew Marketing & Communications was a good option because other people close to me have done it. But what I didn’t know, and I have discovered by talking to more people, was that the Internet was the future of marketing. It seems obvious now, I can guarantee you I had no idea whatsoever about the potential of the Internet in terms of employment.
When I spoke about a career change to my cousin, who is an investment banker, I asked him what he thinks me switching to banking instead of marketing and he started to laugh.
Then he started to worry about me.
He said it would take me 5 to 7 years to switch career into banking: it’s too competitive, too hard, too long, too expensive to learn. He asked me, instead, what I think about web marketing: I replied to him, “what is that?”
After 2 years from when that conversion happened, I would have finished my master’s degree in digital marketing and would have started a new career as a marketing assistant for a start-up company.
And it all started with a simple conversation on an unrelated subject with someone who doesn’t even do digital marketing.
Remember, keep an open mind, talk to everyone when you have no idea how to start. Surprises are around the corner.
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Experiment new career ideas, for a change
Let’s start with a wonderful quote:
“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done” - Attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
What we tend to do when switching career is over analysing everything. Does this list sound familiar?
- Finding out about salaries
- Reading job descriptions
- Analysing our weaknesses and opportunities
- Reading about new trends
- Figuring out how long it takes to become an expert
- Figuring out how to become an expert
- Figuring out how much money it takes to get qualified
Deciding on what to do next can be daunting, even for the most seasoned professional. But what we often forget, is that there isn’t any decision to make, we just need to do things.
The only difference is that instead of doing something that requires lots of time, we can split it into experiments. This way, the big decision is broken down into sub-decisions and we feel safe that we do the right thing.
We feel safe because the small decision can be reversed. If we notice something is wrong, we can take action and cancel it and start over. The benefit is that we have learnt something new without having risked much.
Have you done experiments before?
What form do these experiments take?
Career change experiments can have various forms and can generate new ideas:
- Answer the question: “What makes you good at what you do?” You can get answers by asking this to people. You will understand what they perceive as the most important quality on how to have success in a job. You can understand if you have this quality and what it takes to gain.
- Answer the question: “How did you do this?” This will help you understand the process behind accomplishing something. This helps you realise if you can repeat it and have your own career experiment.
- Do freelance for a small project. Once you know the answer to the previous questions, propose yourself as a freelance to accomplish exactly the same by using the same quality you have learnt above. More on freelancing on the next article.
- Alternatively, volunteer for the same project. The main aim is to prove yourself you can do it and do it right.
- Learn it. Take the same thing you have asked above and learn it. This will help you understand if you are cut for it or not.
This is what I mean by doing something different, for a change.
You have a problem and you want to fix it
This idea can stop every search for career ideas. You simply have a problem and you want to find the right way to fix it, or you might have had a problem for a long time and now you finally came up with a new solution.
However, your new career idea, based on a problem you have, can’t be just the result of your mind alone, it needs to be validated and shared outside yourself. Make sure this problem is not just yours, but it’s shared with your community and peers, your friends, family and any other acquaintances.
It’s important to have a network of people that can test this idea for you, so they can eventually become your test customers and validate the idea (we will discuss this in the next chapters).
Example: Jo Mitchell suffered injuries from a car crash and started Pilates as a rehabilitation program. She also noticed that Pilates had lots of other benefits for her posture and flexibility. After having 2 children, Jo couldn’t find the right place to continue with Pilates classes, so she decided to gain her own qualification in Pilates and create a place for mums with children and help them with post-natal issues. A safe place where they can work on their recovery, bring their babies and be able to stop if they cry and meet with other mothers.
Browse career advice websites
One of the best ways to find new career ideas is to visit career-related websites. Reading pieces of advice, completing personality quizzes, checking market trends are some of the types of activities you can do on these websites, that give you a great idea of what your real situation is regarding a particular job.
Here is a list of career-related websites where you can start researching information:
Prospects Career Planner – Prospects are experts in graduate careers. They help guide students and graduates with information, advice and opportunities. They are owned by the registered charity Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), an agency of UUK and GuildHE, and are the only careers organisation to invest profits back into education and research.
Job Monkey – What’s a better way to get inspired than a daily glimpse of the cool and hot jobs on the market.
Prospects Luminate - Luminate is the home of the student and graduate labour market information from Prospects. They provide trends, advice, data and thought leadership on the school leaver and the graduate job market.
Graduate Talent Pool - This is a free service for graduates seeking graduate internships. They publish only paid graduate internship opportunities with a duration of 12 months. It’s a great starting point when looking for new career ideas.
National Career Service – The provide information, advice and guidance to help to make decisions on learning, training and work regardless of the age and career you are. This portal also helps you to find a course and learning providers as well as finding whether a career is right for you.
Monster Career Advice – Monster is one of the leading job portals and has developed a comprehensive and inclusive section with free resources about planning a job search, CV writing tips, salary and benefits, career development, job interviews tips and work-life balance information.
Get new ideas from newspapers and magazines
This approach is not about uncovering new career ideas, but rather following your favourite journalists, reading their opinions and discovering a new source of information on the topic that interests you the most.
While you read, you might discover a new job that you would love to do, following these famous writers could help with new ideas development, whereas reading your favourite topics could inspire you to master it.
This is just a small list of newspapers and magazines to get you started:
- The Guardian Fitness and lifestyle section – national and international news, opinions and thought leadership on fitness, lifestyle and nutrition.
- Magazine.co.uk - magazine.co.uk sells subscriptions to hundreds of different magazine and newspapers.
- BBC News – Health and fitness section.
- Nutrition Review
- Men’s Health
- Nutrition Mag - The leading publisher and conference organiser serving the natural, complementary health, leisure, education, sport and eco markets.
- The Economist – health and fitness section.
- The Independent – health and fitness section.
For example, the Independent today, at the time of writing, has a breaking article about dietary supplements containing potentially dangerous ingredients.
Get ideas from local events
Your dream career might be just around the corner. Sports events, theatres, cinemas, concerts, festivals are organized and managed by qualified staff. Paying attention to their job roles, seeing how they interact with people, understand their skills can be a great source of inspiration for your new career.
Try watching the coach of your favourite sports team, write down what he does on the pitch and then google how to become a coach. This sports event suddenly can turn into a career opportunity, fuelled by passion and drive, and you didn’t even have to research on it.
Use LinkedIn to network and learn
LinkedIn is not just a boring professional networking site, with impressive job titles full of egos. It’s also a great place to look for career ideas. LinkedIn is organized not just in people’s profiles but also in groups, topics and hashtags, it’s very easy to find a new career idea quickly.
This is a list of things you can search on LinkedIn for career change ideas:
- Groups: if you are interested in a particular job or topic, you can search by a group for the relevant industry or group and become part of. Most groups are closed and not open to the public, so you need to ask permissions to get access to the group administrators. Just send your request by pressing the button and you will be given access.
- Hashtags: this new feature became very popular to search for all topics that talk about something. Hashtags cross-reference a topic and put together into one place everyone who ever mentioned it.
- Companies: read companies’ profiles, check who is working there and connect with people to exchange ideas and get advice.
- Learning: LinkedIn is also a very good place to learn something new. You can pay a monthly fee to start a new online course. Also, at Future Fit Training, for example, we have online courses in Nutrition, Personal Training and Pilates.
Find jobs at freelance services platforms
Fiverr is the freelance service platform on demand. It’s one of the largest freelancers’ website in the world, where you can get cheap work done quickly and safely. Fiverr has hundreds of categories that cater to different services and products. You can also register as a freelance, upload your gigs and start selling.
If you have an idea of your career change and of what you’d like to do, just search a similar service on Fiverr and read the reviews that people leave to the sellers, maybe filter by the best seller to see what angle he is offering and try to understand why he is doing better than others.
There is also a section for Health, Nutrition and Fitness on Fiverr, so if you know you want to become, for example, a fitness instructor, it’s worth checking out this section.
There are also other freelancers’ platforms where you can simply browse by a popular job. Make sure you visit them all to have a good idea of which job and career is popular.
- Freelancer: The Jobs section of freelancer.com will show the latest jobs that companies want to be done, they tell you what the budget is and how long is the project. It’s the perfect opportunity if you want to earn extra income
- PeoplePerHour: they say you can find on this website every skill imaginable. Make sure you register as a freelancer and browse projects to start competing for.
Armed with these resources, you should be able to find your next career ideas. This should serve you as the primary draft list to begin your career change as in the next chapter we will look at the top career ideas suggestions within our industry: fitness, pilates and nutrition.
Start now: Find your next career idea
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