Are you ready to step up the career ladder?
Sep 8th 2019
Marian Toledo
Author: Marian Toledo
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Career changes are, despite appearances, rather common scenarios. On average, it is estimated that in the UK workers change careers 5 to 7 times in their professional lifetime, which is not an insignificant number! Career changes give individuals the opportunity to re-route their professional path, try out new industries, and grow their skillset.
There is a myriad of reasons why people change careers, too. While according to a recent study published by LinkedIn most people change jobs to advance their careers, people make more drastic career changes when they want a new challenge, they discover a new passion they wish to pursue, or they are not happy with their current career. Career change is possible regardless of your current career stage and status, but the key to making a successful switch is to plan ahead.
So, how do you plan ahead a career change?
Match your interests, values, skills, and expectations
Match your interests, values, skills, and expectations
Does your current career meet your values and interests? Which careers are suitable to your level of skills, interest, values and current experience? What expectations do you have about pursuing a new career? Taking online assessment tests can help you determine your interest, values, and skills match and therefore can guide you in determining which careers are the most suitable for you.
Research the industry you are interested in
Research the industry you are interested in
Before making any definitive decisions, it is important you do a thorough research about the industry you’re planning to enter. What are the average salaries? What is the career advancement path? How much experience do you need before you can apply for more senior roles? Do you need university training and, if so, what level of training is appropriate? There are cases where university training and certifications are necessary to enter a career. For example, MDs and lawyers need university training and to pass standardised testing before they can be certified to work in their careers. Furthermore, careers like medicine, law, and accounting might require a period of internship work. If you want to switch careers to one that has these type of requirements, then you need to be certain that this is the type of change you can commit to before making your career change final.
Network using LinkedIn and informational interviews
Network using LinkedIn and informational interviews
After assessing your skills and interest and doing research on what you need to pursue your career change, it’s time to start attending networking events and setting up informational interviews.
With a quick Google search, you can locate the main professional associations in the field you wish to transition to. In many cases, they have networking opportunities and/or conferences listed on their website. They might also have an email distribution list you can sign up to or a Facebook page and LinkedIn profile you can follow. In some cases, professional associations such as the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have mentorship programs designed to help recent graduates transition to the workplace. While some of these programs require a degree in the field, you might find these type of mentorship programs useful if you have retrained for a new career.
You can also approach people in your LinkedIn and professional networks for informational interviews. LinkedIn has a feature that recommends professionals not in your network that are eager to give others professional advice. You can also browse the connections of your connections to see who knows who and who can recommend contacts in your field of interest who is willing to do informational interviews. Finally, remember to approach the people you already know and ask them if they know anybody in the field they require. That way, you’ll go into an informational interview more relaxed, knowing that your new contact is not a complete stranger.
Revise your application materials
Revise your application materials
You can’t get a new career with old, outdated CVs. Adapt your CV to reflect where do you want to go career-wise. If you want a new career, your CV should explain what skills you already have that translate to a new field and what experience do you bring into the new field. Research the vocabulary used in the potential new field — what words are most common? Using the correct vocabulary in your CV will show that you know enough about a new industry to compete for a job in it.
Your CV and cover letter should be customized for every job application. If you need to revamp your application materials and don’t know where to start, check out our previous blog post for tips and advice on writing CVs and cover letters. It is always a good idea for career changers to work with a career coach or a CV specialist that can help them tailor materials for a successful career change.
We get it: changing careers is daunting! Sometimes there’s lots of uncertainty about how to start, where to look for help, and whether changing careers is a good idea or not. Luckily, with these tips, you can get started on preparing for a new career that can bring a lot of personal and professional satisfaction.
Remember: your career is in your hands!
What next?
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