Published on 27th August 2016
My biggest piece of advice when considering your career is not to get bogged down into thinking that you should have only one. Many people reinvent themselves a number of times throughout their adult life both personally and professionally, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s called personal growth!
I finished my education thinking that all I wanted to do was ride horses. My plan was to compete, teach, train and develop young horses (and maybe some riders along the way) and live a life of outdoors excitement. My priorities changed after a few years, however, and I took a job as an Office Junior to earn some money and start climbing the corporate ladder. I spent the next five years working my way up through various roles within an international removals company – random I know!
I feel this role and the company in general, gave me a fantastic grounding in the world of business and provided skills that still benefit me still today. After international removals I decided to travel and upon my return I registered with a recruitment company. This time, I was offered a job working for them. I accepted the challenge and so began my love affair with the heady world of recruitment.
Working in recruitment, helping people to manage a career change and the tasks associated with that, has been a big part of my own journey. People come to me with a variety of reasons why they want to change their career, and my role is to try and assist them with their goals. Hopefully the tips below will help you navigate what can sometimes be a challenging and scary time of your life, and give you some clarity on how to manage a career change with success.
What are you good at and what skills do you enjoy using?
Identify the key things you are good at and enjoy, think about the environment you would like to be in and the kind of people you want to work with. Once you have narrowed it down to these areas you will be able to do some more targeted research and look at specific job roles. Just remember you can always change your mind! Often people put a lot of pressure on themselves to find their “true calling” or feel trapped in a career they hate, simply because it is what they have always done. Rather than fall into this trap, take the pressure off and understand that there is nothing terrible about changing your career direction. Job satisfaction and enjoyment should be key factors and should help you answer the age-old question of “should I stay or should I go?”
Don’t make a knee-jerk decision!
We have all been guilty, at times, of not dealing with issues until they become so large they overwhelm us or we have an emotional response to negative stimulus. Take your time and understand that a gradual approach to changing your career is probably the best tactic in this situation. You may be able to enlist help within your current organisation, ask to get involved in relevant projects or shadow someone already working in the role you aspire to. You may also want to invest in further education and increase your attractiveness to a new employer by demonstrating commitment, understanding and capability within the new career field in which you wish to move.
Update your resume.
Make sure your resume will be interesting for the audience. Don’t have pages and pages of utterly irrelevant information for the role you want to apply for. Whilst your career history might be interesting for you, remember often, people who are recruiting are time poor and can be looking for reasons to cull you from the process. By rewriting your resume you can focus on bringing out and highlighting the experience that is particularly relevant to the new role you are applying for. Your goal is to hold the interest of a prospective employer and increase your chances of securing the first vital interview.
You need to believe!
We are often the biggest inhibitors of our own success. Lack of self-confidence, self-sabotage or even good old fashioned fear of change can keep us locked in chains to our current unhappy/demotivating environment. In order to redefine yourself, you need to first believe from a deep place inside. The term “fake it ‘til you make it” jumps to mind, but perhaps it is as simple as changing the way you think about yourself and introduce yourself. Instead of “I am a Project Manager but I also like to work in the Change Management space” you could say, “I am a Change Manager with a strong background in Project Management” You will be surprised how quickly you start to believe it and once you do, so will everyone else!
Network with people already in the industry or your target role.
Meetup groups, conferences or industry events can be a great way to really understand the role in more detail and get tips on the best way to enter the market. You can increase your knowledge and excite your interest further with a greater understanding of the environment. Build your confidence by getting to know your competition, what do you have in common with them and find out how they commenced their career into your chosen field. You never know, you may even get a foot in the door by meeting someone senior within the field and wowing them with your knowledge and passion to enter the field. Remember it's not only what you know, but who you know!