5 ways to explore a new career idea.

5 ways to explore a new career idea. Photo of old mediterranean street with white buildings, blue doors and steps winding into the distance. Green plants grow over some of the walls.

It can be overwhelming to know where to start when you have an idea for a new career. 

In this blogpost I’m going to give you some tips which I guarantee will yield results.

Think of them as investigative work.

Each approach is designed to give you access to information so you begin to see whether your idea has legs.

You can implement them in any order you wish, although be mindful you don’t put off the one you find most difficult, as this could be where the information you need is hiding!

I’m going to use the career idea of flower arranging to illustrate each approach but it’s worth noting here that your career idea may not be this specific yet, it might still be more of a theme. If that’s you, these approaches work to help you begin identifying areas and then jobs that appeal within the theme.

Before you spring into action, remember to ignite your curiosity and get ready to explore with a spirit of adventure!

1. Read

The cheapest and most flexible of the actions, this one will probably feel the safest too, especially for those of you battling with the feelings of uncertainty that wanting to change career can bring.

Taking the flower arranging example, you could find blogs of florists you admire or ones that teach the art of flower arranging. If you find the meaning of flowers interesting or how to work with flowers seasonally piques your curiosity, you may want to find more niche bloggers.

Instagram and the like will offer pretty pictures but remember this is about researching the idea, so don’t get too sidetracked!  Instead find out more about the information the person behind the account has to offer, which may be of benefit to you.

Going beyond the online world, see if there are publications (for example, magazines and books) that can deepen your knowledge. These will expose you to a variety of people who already work in the field of flowers and flower arranging and getting to know these experts may be helpful in broadening your information sources. 

2. Workshops

Live, one off workshops, whether they be online or in-person, are a great way to delve into getting practical for a minimal cost.

Some people like to start with knowledge gathering before getting practical whereas others prefer to dive into experiencing their new career idea. Whichever way you prefer, there is nothing like this approach to help you begin assessing whether your new career idea truly resonates.

Going back to the flower arranging example, you could choose an in-person workshop focussed on making a Christmas wreath if it’s in the Winter or how to create a bouquet of wildflowers if it’s Summer. You can search for good options locally – eventbrite is a great resource for this.

For an online option, when I typed in ‘online flower arranging workshop’ lots of YouTube videos came up, which are also free!  Although not live, these could be especially useful if you have time constraints.

It might be an idea to try out a few workshops with different people and both in-person and online to get a broader feel for your chosen career idea.  Don’t be put off your idea because of one bad learning experience!

3. Short courses

If a workshop indicates your chosen career idea is resonating with you then investing more time and money in a short course held over a number of weeks is a good way to go deeper into things. It’s important to ascertain whether your enthusiasm can be maintained over a longer period as this indicates that your idea has legs.

A quick Google search brings up flower arranging courses for different levels, both in-person and online. See if some of the people you follow on social media or those who have written books and contributed to magazines have courses you might consider. 

Make sure the course is appropriate for your level and remember that this is not only a good opportunity to see whether flower arranging is for you but also to see how you find being in a learning environment again and which learning environment best suits you. 

4. Speak to people

Never underestimate the experience and knowledge of your friends and family, plus who they might know and can put you in touch with.

Gaining vital insights into working in flower arranging – the best way to get qualified, the best courses, considerations you haven’t thought of and how to go about setting up a business or working for someone – can be gleaned by speaking to people.

In a 30 mins chat you’ll be surprised by how much you learn including what to avoid and not bother with, where to focus your next step and other people who you can speak with.

Send an email to your network and include the following:

  • explain you are on a journey exploring new career options.
  • highlight the career idea you are interested in learning more about.
  • ask if anyone has any experience in this area or if they know of anyone who does.
  • ask if they would be willing to speak to you for 30 mins.

Let your curiosity lead the conversations that come out of this and always ask what they would recommend you do next or if there is anyone they know who it would be helpful for you to speak to. 

This approach helps you bypass needless information black holes!

5. Shadow someone

This is a good one to broach in any 30 mins chats you have.

If the person you’re talking to is happy to let you come and shadow them for a day, it’s a great way to see what the day to day behind the scenes is like. You will no doubt observe tasks and priorities that you had no idea about and have a chance to ask questions. Understanding the nuts and bolts of a career option is important so you can understand the reality of doing it every day.

For the flower arranging, it could be as simple as asking a local florist if you can shadow them. 

If you can’t shadow someone, you could set up some time with them and ask them to walk you through what they do in a typical week, where they focus their time and why, to give you a fuller picture. 

Hopefully you can see how easy it is to start exploring your new career idea and so much of it can be done very conveniently and with a low cost and time investment. 

Putting effort into this stage of the career change journey will set you up for long-term success if you decide to fully commit to pursuing your idea.

Take your time and happy exploring!

Photo by Johnny Africa on Unsplash.