How to Navigate a Career Change

Advice for switching careers and moving into a new sector

Deciding to make a complete career change can, understandably, seem incredibly daunting. However, it is becoming increasingly popular and need not be as difficult as you might assume. If you are going to embark on a career revamp, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing so for the right reasons. Therefore, thinking about why you want to make the change is crucial. You need to be prepared to put yourself out there and take plenty of time to learn about the industry you wish to transition into. Have a read through our guide to make sure that you’re well-equipped for tackling the change!

  • Think carefully about why you want to change careers
  • Dedicate time to building a new network of connections
  • Spend time updating and refining your CV
  • Make an impulsive decision to change sectors
  • Be put off by the prospect of taking time out to gain experience
  • Leave outdated and irrelevant information on your CV

Why do you want to make the change?

Moving into a sector that is unlike any other you have worked previously is, undoubtedly, a big decision. You should take plenty of time to think about exactly what it is that’s making you want to change career. You may be feeling like the company you work for isn’t the right fit for you, in which case, would the problem be solved by changing companies, as opposed to industries? It is crucial to confirm that it is the sector itself that is encouraging the change, as opposed to a problem that can be fixed by an adjustment to your job role or company. An example of a good reason to change sector: you feel as though you made a mistake choosing the industry you are currently in and have never felt as though it has been right for you. You may have chosen a job in a specific sector based off the course you studied at university (e.g. it would be natural to go into law if you had completed a law degree) and now realise that it’s not what you anticipated it to be. There are a multitude of possible reasons, just be sure that you truly understand what yours is, as this is highly likely to be mentioned in any future job interviews and will help you to determine your new career path!

Put yourself out there

Confidence is crucial when making a complete career change - you’re going to have to put yourself out there! Making new connections is key as it will help you to learn about your new industry and find out about potential job openings and opportunities. Try to attend networking events where you can meet people who are well established in the field you’re trying to get into. After you have built up a few connections, it will become far easier to reach even more people and ultimately get your foot in the door.

Do plenty of research on your new sector to make sure that you are completely up to date with any major news and developments. This shows initiative and demonstrates a keen interest in the field to potential employers!

Refine and adapt your CV

Updating and decluttering your CV is necessary whenever you apply for a new job, even if it’s within the same sector as your previous work (have a look at our general guide for updating your CV here). However, refining your CV is paramount if you’re considering a major career move. Rather than listing a great deal of previous experience, which probably isn’t completely relevant now that you’re transitioning into a different sector, think about what skills you’re able to bring to the table. Alongside your skills, emphasise any non-work-related experiences you may have that would be relevant to your new career. For the work experience that you do include, concentrate on good examples of transferable skills and attributes that you have picked up, which may be applicable to your new job.

Gaining experience

If your new career path requires skills that you do not yet have, you may need to consider doing a mid-career internship or taking a course in order to attain these skills before you’re able to start applying for full-time, permanent positions. This may feel like you are taking a few steps back but try not to look at it this way, as it will ultimately get you closer to your new job. You are likely to feel far more confident about your career change if you have some experience under your belt.

Ultimately, you will have to be brave and take the plunge in order to work your way up the career ladder in your new industry! If you’re able to learn and adapt quickly you stand the best chance of success.

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