How to test-drive a new career

Test drive new career

Just like test-driving a new car, there are certain things you can do to help you decide if the career you’re interested in is right for you.

Finding a new career in our country’s tough economic climate can be a challenging task, but for many South Africans it is inevitable. With so many companies undergoing restructures and changes to the workplace in order to meet financial goals, more employees are resorting to seeking alternative careers and job opportunities. While having to look for a new career might seem daunting, it can also bring about positive change and the opportunity to embrace something that stimulates your passions and talent. Just like test-driving a new car, there are certain things you can do to help you decide if the career you’re interested in is right for you.

Here are 5 ways to test drive a new career:


Or to be more specific, freelancing is a great way to maintain a flexible and selective career path. Freelancing also need not be a permanent solution, but it can lend a hand to buying you some time (and an income) while you figure out what career is best for you. You can also build up a great network of contacts who might call on you should a permanent position open up.


Consider an internship in the industry you’re passionate about. Internships provide valuable insights into the nature of a career, while you can gain a huge amount of experience and growth in the field before deciding if you want to remain in that industry. While internships don’t usually pay a full salary, they can help you get your foot in the door for potential full-time opportunities.

Driving tips from the pros

Chat to people you know who are in the industry that you’re interested in and get a feel for what a day in the life of that career is like. Find out what the pros and cons are, what the highlights of their career has been and be open to suggestions and advice. Remember that not every person’s experience is the same, so keep an open of mind and try getting more than one person’s insights.

Keep those headlights on

A positive mind equals positive results. During your career search, staying motivated can be a struggle at times, but it’s important that you keep an open mind so that you’re not too quick to turn down possible career paths. That being said, always be aware and alert of some of the online job scams out there before you go ahead with that “dream job” application. 

Test-driving 101  

When it comes to a potentially new career, no one ever really knows for sure what he or she is getting into, until they’re in it. However the Internet has loads of information, from videos and tutorials by career experts to employee testimonials and words of advice from those who have been there before. Join forums and online discussions to get more insights into the career you’re interested in.

If you haven’t yet decided which career path to follow, it’s a good idea to explore what ‘drives’ you, what you want from a career, and where you see yourself in five years time. There are loads of career assessment options available out there too. These can help you identify your career strengths and goals, realise your talents and build confidence.

Writer | Caira-Lee Durand