Bored with your current job? Take on a completely new challenge!
It's 3 PM on any given Wednesday and you're clock-watching again. The hands seem to have stopped still and you're begging them to move. You have a “to do” list as long as your arm but no urge to get started on it. Your current job, interesting as it is, does little to inspire you. You've worked at the same place for too long now and you want a change.
Have you thought about a career transition? If you've learned all there is to learn in your current sector (and even if you haven't!), a change is as good as a rest. Hopping over to something new could revitalise your outlook. Should you want to try something new, you've come to the right place. In the following guide, we'll be looking at what a career transition is, whether it's normal, and the strategies you can use to land your next role.
What is a career transition?
First up, let's take a look at a quick “career transition” meaning. While it's natural to move from position to position in the same sector, this approach means entering a new sector. For example, you may be a qualified Teacher and then decide that you want to launch your career as a Content Writer. You may have originally trained as an Electrician and later re-train as a HGV Driver. If you're willing to take the right steps, the sky's the limit here.
Regardless of the position that you have right now, there's always opportunity for change. Chances are, you will have picked up a broad selection of transferable skills that will be handy in a range of other roles. It's important to realise that a career transition is entirely possible. You simply have to make sure that you take the right steps towards success.
Is a career transition normal?
If you're thinking about shifting gears, you may be wondering if you're alone. Let us put your mind at rest. You're not. Almost half of the country feels the same way. In fact, 47% of British workers would like a career change, according to a report from the London School of Business and Finance. Deciding to switch jobs has become the norm in recent years.
The traditional concept of finding a job for life is dead. HR News reports that Brits will change jobs around 17 times over the course of their working lives. That may translate to looking for a new role every two-to-three years. While many people stick to the same industry when searching for new jobs, it's not uncommon for workers to change careers.
Of course, before you take that leap of faith, you need to make sure that you're ready. Planning ahead is the smartest way to make your career transition work for you. As you might imagine, there are plenty of steps you need to take before you can move on. In the following section, we'll take a look at the most effective strategies you can use.
13 strategies for changing industries
Thinking about switching things up? If a career transition is on the cards, you're going to need a strategy. The old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” However, you may have no idea where to start. Luckily, we've got you covered with this one. Let's take a look at 13 of the most effective career transition strategies that you can use.
1. Consider why you want to change careers
Before you do anything else, you need to consider why a career transition is appealing to you. Are you bored with your current role? Do you hate your boss? Do you feel like there's no room for progression? We all have our reasons when it comes to wanting to move.
It's important to make the distinction between wanting to move jobs and wanting to change careers. Are you sick of your particular sector or do you simply want a new position? Jumping ship and trying something completely new is a huge move. You'll need to learn new skills, revamp your CV, and start from square one. It's not a decision to take lightly.
It may be worth reaching out to the people that you know and trust. Explain how you're feeling and that you're considering entering a new industry. Gathering advice from the people around you will help you to determine what your motivation is here. It's worth making sure that you're ready to have a complete career transition before you go ahead.
2. Get a career transition coach
If you're certain that this step is right for you, the next step may be getting a career transition coach. This option is particularly useful for people who are unclear on what sector they would like to work in. You may already have a mentor to whom you can turn. If you don't have anybody that you can confide in, why not look for a specific coach instead?
From the offset, this professional will be able to guide the way. If they've been working as a career coach for a while, they'll know which questions to ask you to help you to make a decision. Similarly, this professional will have the knowledge to support you when it comes to making a career change plan that suits your needs. Take a look for one near you. You may find someone online or potentially meet someone when you're networking.
3. Think about what you want to do
Okay, you've made the decision that you want to undergo a career transition. That's the first step in the process. Next up, you need to figure out which career will suit you. If you already know what you want to do - let's say you want to go into PR - you can skip this step. However, if you're scratching your head, here are some questions that you can ask:
What aspects of your current job do you enjoy the most?
Is there a sector that you find particularly interesting?
What subjects did you like when you were at school?
What skills do you have and what roles do they suit?
Have you volunteered in any sector in the past?
You might want to make a shortlist of potential career avenues that you can research. Don't rule anything out when you write this list. Sure, the chances of you retraining to become a neuroscientist may be slim at this point. However, if you shut the door too early on these options, you'll never know what opportunities are out there. Go on… think big!
4. Research the career of your choice
When you've got your career transition shortlist, the next step is researching each of the roles. The job profiles section on Prospects is a handy resource that you can use. Look up each of the career paths you're considering and you'll find a full breakdown of the role. That way, you can compare each of the jobs and sectors. This activity will give you a clear overview of whether the industry is right for you. Here's what you should consider:
What are the salary expectations for this career path?
What qualifications, if any, will you need to gain?
What are the working hours for this type of profession?
What core skills and competencies do you need to have?
Do you need any specific work experience?
Taking a look at the job profile will help you to answer all of these questions. By the end of this task, you should be able to determine whether you can easily move into the sector.
5. Evaluate job advertisements
Ready to dig a bit deeper? When you've checked out the job profile and figured out that it suits you, you'll have a good grasp of the role. However, it's worth understanding what employers are looking for in candidates. To gather this information, you should head to the online job boards. Take a look at openings in the sector and check out the requirements. The more job postings you look at, the better you'll understand what employers want.
6. Break down the smaller steps
By now, you should know what it takes to complete your career transition. The last two strategies will have helped you to understand what qualifications you need and any skills you have to gain. Moving to a different sector may feel like a colossal job… so break it down.
Make a list of the steps you need to take to change careers. For example, you may need to get a specific online qualification, undertake some work experience, or meet professionals in the sector. Be specific about everything you need to do to change jobs.
7. Set a reasonable timeline
Once you've got your list of steps, it's time to get scheduling. You can sit back and ignore that list forever, but that means that you'll never end up moving into a new sector. Instead, you need to stick deadlines on each of the tasks. Be reasonable in your approach. Think about how long each of the steps will take you and add a date that fits.
For instance, if you need to take a 10-week-long course, pick a deadline that's around 12 weeks from now. That gives you two weeks to sign up and the full period to complete the course. If you make the deadlines work for you, you won't have a problem reaching them.
8. Undertake any additional training
Upskilling and retraining is likely to be the longest part of this process. When you're hoping to change careers, you may need to get some additional qualifications. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources that you can use to get the certificates you need. Take a look at the available online courses, training programmes at local colleges, and any other options.
Note: You may have to invest in your education! While there are some free courses online and even some funded programmes, it's worth setting aside some cash for this task.
9. Identify your transferable skills
While you may have to take some steps toward your career transition, there are other things you have in the bag. Namely your transferable skills. These are the talents you've picked up in your current job that can be applied elsewhere. Here are some examples:
Collaboration or teamwork
It's likely that you already have a bunch of transferable skills. These will be the fuel of your career change CV. When you're writing your applications, be sure to focus on these talents. Recruiters value these skills highly, so you should shine a spotlight on them.
10. Look at how you spend your free time
Ask yourself a quick question: how do you currently spend your free time?
You might have a load of hobbies, interests, and even sports that you take part in. Alternatively, you may spend your time socialising with friends or seeing your loved ones. These are both noble ways to pass the time. However, when you're looking to make a career transition you may want to be strategic about what you do outside of work.
How can you use this time to your advantage? What activities can you start that will directly benefit your career? You may want to look into voluntary positions within your chosen sector, for example. On the other hand, you could use the time to network.
11. Expand your professional network
That brings us neatly onto the next career transition strategy. Have you thought about expanding your professional network? No? Well, you should. 85% of job openings are filled through networking. Put simply, if you aren't rubbing shoulders with the right people, you're likely to miss out on some real career opportunities. Don't make that mistake.
There are two ways to network: virtually and in-person. The first approach means using LinkedIn and other social media channels to reach out to like-minded professionals. You should also up your posting game if you're hoping to gain traction on these sites. The second approach is more literal: attend networking events within your chosen sector. This nifty little move gives you direct access to some key decision-makers in the industry and enables you to build a career transition network.
12. Update your CV and cover letter
When you've taken all of the above steps, you should be in a position to start revamping your CV and cover letter. This will put you in the perfect position to apply for roles.
There are different formats and structures that you can use when it comes to your CV. You may find that a functional structure works best for you. This type of document emphasises your skills and talents over the work experience you have. Since you will lack real-life industry experience, this format will work in your favour.
We won't beat around the bush - you will be at a disadvantage. Other candidates may have experience in the sector and you don't. Writing a tailored cover letter can help you to sidestep this issue. The freeform document allows you to share your passion for the industry and explain why you've decided to make this career transition.
13. Apply for jobs within your ballpark
Once you've sharpened up your CV and cover letter, all that is left to do is apply for jobs. As we've already mentioned, you're starting from square one again. That means that you should go after entry-level positions in the sector and that may mean taking a pay cut. If you want to start working in a completely new field, you need to go from the ground up.
Whenever you are applying for new jobs, use a tailored approach. Make sure that you edit your documents to suit the role and the company. That way, you're more likely to land that all-important interview. Dedicate some time each week to searching for new positions.
If you're looking for a new challenge, a career transition may be the answer. Entering a new industry will take a lot of hard work, networking, and training. However, it will be worth the trouble. Should you break into a new career path, plenty of opportunities will come your way. Follow the advice that we've set out in this guide to get started. While you can't switch careers overnight, taking small steps will make a big difference.
Thinking about a career transition? If you're looking for new jobs, make sure that your CV is up to scratch. Why not submit it for a free CV review to make sure that it showcases your suitability for the transition?