Changing Career Direction
Leaving school, taking an entry level role and working your way up through one organisation over your entire career almost never happens these days. It is far more likely that we will have several different ‘careers’ throughout our working lives.
While a CV littered with frequent changes of job can make potential employers nervous, it is perfectly legitimate to change direction in your career a couple of times. Not many of us leave school knowing what we want to do when we ‘grow up’. You might start in an industry and realise it’s not for you or get to a point where opportunities to progress are not there and it’s time for a change.
Change is good but there are a few things to keep in mind when you are trying to make a career change.
Firstly, you need to think about what industries you want to target and make a realistic estimation as to whether you are likely to be competitive in that sector. Think carefully about the skills and experience you have to offer a new employer in a new industry. Ask yourself do you have the right qualifications or training? Is your experience transferable?
Being motivated to move is not enough. You will still have to offer the new employer something special in order for them to risk taking you on. Do your research on the industry to identify where entry points might be.
Making a big change will be easier earlier in your career. If you have spent many years specialising in an industry or function it will be harder to switch. It will also mean the people you are going up against will likely be more established in their industry and therefore harder to compete with.
When you apply for a role in a new industry you will be up against people who already have industry experience. That doesn’t mean those recruiting won’t consider you but you do have to make an effort to explain why it’s worth them taking a chance on you. You won’t have depth in the industry but you might bring a breadth of experience which can be very valuable to an organisation. You need to allay the concerns of potential employers that while you may be a riskier choice than someone from the sector, you will be worth the risk given the other skills and experience you bring to the role.
In most instances, it is easier to change either your industry or function but changing both at the same time is a big ask. Changing industry will be easier if you have strong corporate experience like, finance, HR, IT or marketing. Those functions will have similarities across industries and your skills can be transferred. If you want to change your functional role, doing so within your current company is the easiest option to broaden your transferable skills. Your current employer is more likely to recognise your potential and give you the opportunity to try something new.
Moving industries often means you might need to take a few steps back to go forward. If you are really keen to move into a new industry, taking a more junior role will mean your broader skills will be more valuable and go some way to making up for a lack of industry knowledge.
Depending on the role you are looking at, you may need to undertake additional training or education to qualify for the new role. Taking the time to do some further training will not only make you more competitive but also give you some more insight before you commit to making the change.
I am not saying it can’t be done or that it is not a good idea to pursue a passion but it is sensible to go into it with open eyes. Spend some time thinking about the reality of the situation before you try to make the move. Make a realistic assessment of your chances and don’t waste your time and end up disappointed.
With so many out there looking for work and with extra time on our hands, it is a great time to rethink where you are heading. If you do want to make a big change contact us and we will help you present the best version of yourself to give you the competitive edge.