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Developing your career

Before making a career change

If you're thinking of a career change, it’s important to consider some key questions to think about your reasons for wanting to change.

What is it about your present/last job that is making you consider a career change?

  • Is it the nature of the job, or the people you work with?
  • Is it due to a lack of opportunity within the company?
  • Is it management or organisational practices?
  • Has there been major reorganisation? Is change being forced on you?

What parts of your career do you want to change?

  • achieve a better work–life balance
  • earn a higher salary
  • gain more independence
  • feel you're doing work that helps the community or improves society.

It may be useful to have a personal development plan that details your preferences, your goals and your plans for achieving them.

If you're in work, you may be able to talk to your manager or use your appraisal system to discuss your job role. I may be possible to improve your current job, rather than changing your career.

Are you prepared to invest time and money in study or training?

A career change can involve training for new qualifications or topping up existing ones. Consider the investment of time, money and energy.

Funding may be available for study depending on your circumstances. The following organisations offer finance schemes throughout the UK.

Many OU students also qualify for additional funding and financial support. See what schemes are available in Payment, scholarships, bursaries and grants.

Are you prepared to take a drop in salary?

While you'll be able to use your transferable skills in your new career, if you change to a career that you have no previous experience in you may have to consider starting in a role that has a lower salary. Can you afford to do this in the short, medium or long term?

Do you know where to find support?

Careers and Employability Services are here to support you throughout your studies and for three years after completing. You can get in touch with the careers team by telephone, video call or email. You may also find it useful to discuss a career change with friends, family, colleagues, and any contacts you may have in the career area you’re looking to change to. Explore this further in Find support for your career and make connections

Front cover of Your Career Planning Guide

Your Career Planning Guide

Deciding what you want to do with your career can feel like the start of an exciting journey, but it can also feel daunting if you're not sure where to start. Your Career Planning Guide (PDF 3.98MB) is available to all students, you'll need to be signed in to access the guide.

Last updated 2 months ago