Sometimes a career change can be even more nerve-wracking than the first time you were trying to work out what to do with your professional life. The first time you were probably just moving on from a weekend hospo job. This time you’ve already studied and changed into a job you really thought would be your career. Well, take a deep breath, because you’re definitely not the first to change directions and this time you’re older and wiser with a bunch of workplace experience that puts you in a good place to succeed.

But, it is totally fair that you’d want to make sure your new career ideas are actually something you enjoy before you commit to the total lifestyle change. Luckily there are several ways to dip your toes before you dive in.

Internship

What better way to see how a job actually is than putting yourself in that environment? And yes, internships can be a waste of time, or companies looking for free labour. Trust me, as someone who has more internships under her belt than fingers on her hands, I can attest to this being true. But I can also strongly tell you that the GOOD ones are invaluable, particularly when you’re trying to work out exactly which direction to take with your career.

Volunteer

Can’t find an internship? Then volunteer for a bit. Depending on the industry you’re trying to get into, this may even be your first choice. Don’t waste your time while you’re there. Ask questions about the company, about how employees find their work, about pathways this kind of work can lead to. The more interest you show the more you’ll know, and who knows it may even set you up if you decide to ultimately follow that career.

Try A Class

Before you commit to full-time study, why not try a class or short course? Give yourself a feel for the type of work and even ask people about the industry while you’re there. A lot of teachers, tutors, and lecturers have real-world experience after all.

Talk To People

Not just any people, talk to people who work in the industry you’re thinking about. I’m definitely not talking about cold-messaging a bunch of people on LinkedIn, probably don’t do that. But if you know anyone personally, or know someone who does, use that connection to bend their ear. Otherwise, head along to all the uni/ TAFE/ college open days you can and ask them your questions.

Image: Instagram / [@terrycrews]