Nowadays, making a career change is a much more common practice than it used to be. In fact, employers increasingly value candidates who have transferrable skills and experiences to bring from other specialisms as it is likely to enable disruptive thinking and improvements to their business.
If you are not satisfied with your current employment situation and are considering changing your career, there are a number of steps you should undertake to successfully change your career. Please see below the summary of 5 key steps to a successful career change.
As Confucius famous quote states: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”, therefore, the first step is to consider the specialisms that you are actually interested in and would enjoy doing. Next, you need to heavily research into your chosen profession to ensure that you are satisfied with what to expect. This might include earning potential, progression opportunities, employment opportunities locally, nearby or remotely. Aim to eliminate potential professions that you believe do not meet your expectations in terms of salary, progression, employment opportunities or other criteria that are important to you.
2. Network with Professionals
The next step is to find and engage your chosen audience who might either work in the same role or industry which you are interested in. There are various ways to do this such as attending networking events, spectating webinars, joining a Professional Membership body, using LinkedIn to find relevant professionals etc. Do not hesitate to get in touch with professionals on LinkedIn to find like-minded people. Their tacit knowledge and experience could prove invaluable and so you could ask them to provide an insight into their normal day at work, what they enjoy most about their job, key challenges of the job etc. You might also want to consider asking for advice as to how to enter the profession, how they have done it themselves or to even invite new contacts to consider mentoring or coaching you.
3. Get Certified
After you have conducted research and begun networking with relevant professionals, you should have concluded on which career path is best for you. If so, your next step is to become certified in that specialism. There are a number of professional certifications available in a variety of specialisms that lead to globally-recognised qualifications. Certifications enable candidates to gain the relevant knowledge and skills required for the profession. They often cover specialisms’ fundamentals, tools, techniques and methods for their practical application. Certified professionals are highly demanded by prospective employers, therefore, having a relevant professional certification on your CV, will improve your job prospects and increase your chances of getting your next chosen job.
SkillPoint offers e-learning courses with exams that lead to globally-recognised qualifications, such as PRINCE2®, MSP®, AgilePM®, ITIL®, RESILIA®, P3O® and more. Feel free to contact us to discuss the certification routes for your preferred profession.
4. Get work experience
Before starting to apply for jobs in a new specialism, you need to consider the possibilities of obtaining a relevant work experience that could enhance the quality of your applications and increase your chances of getting the desired employment offer. There are a number of ways you can gain the relevant work experience; one being doing some voluntary work in an environment relevant to your preferred specialism. Volunteering can often form a negotiable and part-time option whereby you might be able to agree to work for just couple of hours a week. Another option is to explore whether your current employer is in a position to offer you a secondment to gain the relevant work experience or at least provide you an opportunity to contribute to the work that would enable you to gain the relevant transferrable skills. Lastly, you may consider securing an entry-role, such as Assistant’s position reporting to the post holder that you would potentially aim to fill in the future, thereby learning on-the-job until you have gained sufficient competency and capability to progress to a higher level post.
It is important to undertake this step after becoming certified, so that you could apply your certificated knowledge and skills into practical, real-life and on-the-job situations. This way, your experiences will possess much more value and will enable you to connect your certificated knowledge and career experience better during interviews in the future.
5. Start applying for jobs
Fundamentally, you need to ensure that your CV and cover letter are adjusted to target the specialism that you are interested in. You need to ensure you use the right terminology relevant to the profession, reference the relevant tools and techniques and explore the details of how you have applied the key principles and processes of the profession in your previous work experience. Whenever possible, always request feedback on your job applications and performance during job interviews, as this will enable you to consider how to improve for the next time.
Bear in mind, the steps explored above will require you to input a lot of time and effort, but will be worthwhile in the end as will enable you to successfully change your career. Be determined, learn new skills, persevere and you will manage to achieve your professional goals!