Are you considering changing your career? It’s challenging enough looking for a similar job. Considering changing your career is even more challenging. There are lots of factors to take into consideration. What you offer the next employer? What you want from the next career step. You may have to consider your current salary. So, there are the financials to consider. You may even have to take a step backwards in terms of your job status.
There are several steps you need to do before rushing to apply for anything and everything. You need to be a little more considered in your approach. Spend some quality time preparing yourself and researching the market.
Changing job and changing sector might just be a step too far. So, you may wish to consider remaining in the same sector. You can then bring a good understanding and lots of knowledge to the new job. This smaller step could be considered in parallel, so you are maximising your time.
Self-Evaluation and Reflection
When considering changing career, you must first start with some self-evaluation and reflection. Consider what’s trigger the desire to change career. Review your most important values (family, work-life balance, money, life-style, ambition etc.) Values are your codes of behaviour. They are the principles you believe are most important to how you live and work. They determine whether you feel your life and career are on track. Your job needs to fit with your values and your life-style.
Start by making a simple list of things you enjoy in your current job or during your career. Include the tasks you are particularly good at. Write down all the things you want to do less of and haven’t enjoyed so much. However, even if you haven’t enjoyed these tasks don’t discard the lessons learnt or skills you’ve development as a result (patience, tolerance, reflection, emotional intelligence, leadership, evaluation, objective etc.)
When I started considering setting up my business consultancy I did the same. I wrote down all the things I enjoyed about my current work: Training, coaching, consulting, partnering, writing articles etc. This really began to shape my business offerings. I also took the time to write up a list of things I didn’t enjoy so much and wanted to do less. I didn’t want to screen thousands of CVs any more.
Read this article on The PD Cafe: How to change your life by recognising what you don’t want
Skills and Knowledge Audit
Typically, when you are looking for a similar job you can easily demonstrate your match by the experience. When you are changing career, you’ll need a more comprehensive list of knowledge, behavioural competencies, skills (hard and soft).
At Your Interview Coach we are big advocates of conducting a personal S.W.O.T analysis. Looking at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. You’ll be surprised just how much you have to offer the next employer.
Here’s a template: Personal Development Planning Template
You may also want to take the opportunity to review what resources you have available to support the next career move. Resources could be the amount of money you have to invest in further training or certifications or qualifications. It could be the amount of time you have or are willing to dedicate to your new career. Resources could also be equipment (laptop, printer, software, iPhone, Camera’s, car, workshop, home office space, etc.).
Consider your transferable skills. This is another really important concept to understand. When you are changing career direction it maybe that you don’t have any direct experience. Or you don’t have the exact experience. So, you’ll need to be confident you have plenty of transferable skills and behaviours. Analyse the tasks in a bit more depth. Start to identify the behaviours you’ve needed to be able to implement that task.
Once you know what you have to offer the next employer you can then consider the best sectors. You may have a job type in mind and it may well be a good fit for several sectors. In this case, identify industries that fit with your values. Research the sector you are considering changing careers. What major projects are being planned or implemented now and in the future. What are the trends and news stories in the headlines? What about the future of this industry?
Look at the types of jobs these projects are likely to need. Conduct an advanced search on the job boards. Review the skills, experience and knowledge the adverts display. Then match the criteria to your current skill set. If you don’t match the criteria, consider what training you’ll need to meet the requirements.
One of the best ways to find out about a particular sector is to talk to the people. Factor in some networking on and off-line. Seek out sector related conferences or events. Attend and start talking! If you are on LinkedIn, this is a great place to ask questions to your audience. People want to help. You may wish to seek out professional recruitment consultants that have first-hand knowledge of what’s current.
Has it been a while since you’ve had an interview? Then it’s essential you add interview preparation to your list of things to do. Behavioural competency questions have now been around for a few decades and still being used today. You’ll do well to prepare some specific examples to be ready for this type of interview. There are a couple of processes to help you prepare, the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Results) or CAR (Challenge, Action and Results).
There are some companies that are looking at strength-based interviews. These tend to focus on motivation and fit, rather than demonstrating competency. These types of questions lend themselves well to organisations that are more concerned with attitude. They are happy to train on the skills requirements. Finding these organisations might be challenging.
Whatever you decide to do next, be happy!