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Changing career

Thinking about a career change? It can be difficult to work out whether you just need a new challenge, or if it’s time to take a completely different direction. If you need help with making the right decision, you can get free, impartial advice from a careers adviser.

How satisfied are you with your career?

Thinking about what you’ve achieved in your career so far can be a good place to start. Success means different things to different people, but you may want to consider whether you’ve:

  • enjoyed the challenges you’ve met in your work
  • been promoted in line with your talents
  • achieved a salary that lets you live the way you want
  • built up expertise in your line of work
  • made an impact - within your organisation, or more widely
  • earned the respect of clients, customers and colleagues

Is it time for a career change?

Working out whether your current job has let you achieve the level of success you want should give you an idea of whether it’s time for a change.

If you think a career change could benefit you, you’ll need to decide whether you want:

  • a new role in your current organisation
  • a change of employer
  • a completely different career

Asking yourself some of the following questions may help you to work this out.

Are you enjoying the day-to-day tasks in your job?

If you’ve recently stopped enjoying the day-to-day activities in your job, consider what may be behind this - you may just be bored and need a new challenge. You may want to think about moving to a different department within your organisation - or to a different employer.

If you actively dislike parts of your day-to-day job - or you don’t get the chance to use all of your talents - ask yourself whether what you do is typical for someone in your line of work. If you’re dissatisfied with the job itself, changing department or employer may not improve things. You may want to consider a more radical change.

Do you feel motivated by the people you work with?

How do you get on with colleagues, managers, clients and others in your workplace?

Consider whether any problems are due to personality clashes with particular individuals, the culture of the workplace - or because of the nature of the job itself.

If you like the people you work with but are frustrated by the actual work, you may want to look at changing your role within the organisation - or looking for a different role with a similar employer.

Are you satisfied with your work-life balance?

If you’re looking for a better fit with your family life, a change of job isn’t always necessary.

Technology is making it possible for more people to spend time working from home. You may have the right to ask your employer to make arrangements for flexible working. Your employer can refuse if there’s a good business reason to do so.

Taking the first steps towards a new career

Making a complete career change

If you’re thinking about a complete change of career but you’re not sure which direction to take, start by asking yourself about your interests, skills and experience.

See ‘Which career is right for you?’ to find out more.

Finding a new job in the same line of work

If you feel like a change but plan to stick with the same line of work, you can search online for current vacancies. See ‘Find a job now’.

Prospects, pay and other things to consider

Different people want different things out of a career, but common considerations include opportunities to progress, salary and location.

See 'Career considerations' to find out more.

Putting your plans into action: courses and qualifications

Whether you’re looking to get into a different type of work or get on in the career you’re in, learning could help open up new options.

There’s a huge variety of work-related courses, available at a range of levels. And you don’t have to give up the job you have – many courses are designed so you can combine study with work commitments.

Get careers advice from Next Step

Next Step is a careers and skills advice service. You can get advice online or over the phone by calling 0800 100 900. You can also arrange to meet a Next Step careers adviser face-to-face near where you live or book a free call back from an adviser.

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Get careers and skills advice

Get careers advice online or speak with a Next Step adviser by calling 0800 100 900

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