If you’re like most people, you probably had no idea what you wanted to do for a living when you left school. If you picked a career without really considering if it was something you could enjoy doing every day, or simply had to get a job – any job – to survive, you might find yourself wondering if you’ll be stuck in that same job forever.

The good news is there is no need to stay in the same field your whole life if you don’t want to. You can develop new skills to change careers no matter how old you are, starting with these four simple steps.

1. Identify your skills and interests

There’s no point in changing careers if you’re going to feel unfulfilled in the new one. It’s important to figure out what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, what would make you feel fulfilled, and how you can convert all of these into an income. For example, you might love working with your hands and being creative. There are plenty of practical jobs out there that are ideal for you, such as welding or boilermaking. You can enrol in a short welding course that won’t take years of studying to complete; you could be in a new career in a matter of months.

2. Research jobs related to your interests

You might love helping people and love playing soccer, but you’re probably not going to find a well-paying job that combines both of those passions. That doesn’t mean you can’t make all your interests work for you, though. In the previous example, you could work your way towards becoming a paramedic, while spending your weekends coaching an underprivileged kids’ soccer team.

3. Job shadow

There’s no doubt that changing careers is one of the scariest decisions you’ll ever make! To be absolutely sure you’re doing the right thing, reach out to businesses on social media networks, liked LinkedIn, and ask if they will allow you to shadow someone who works there. This way, you’ll get a good feel for what the job entails and whether or not you’ll really enjoy it. It’s also a great way to network and make connections to find a permanent job in the future.

4. Give yourself a deadline

Because it can be such a stressful process, it’s easy to put off making a decision and get stuck in a rut. Give yourself a deadline and set realistic goals to achieve. Let’s say you want to do a skills development course but you don’t have the money right now. Create a budget to find out how much you can save every month and commit to enrolling once you have enough funds. When you’ve completed the course, set a timeline for getting your first interview, then your first job, and so on.

At Skills College, our mission is to empower South Africans through education and skills development. We offer corporate development programmes and public courses that are aimed at upskilling South Africans as quickly as possible and helping them contribute meaningfully to society, while feeling fulfilled and empowered. Get in touch with us today on 012 541 0100 to jumpstart your new career!