Making career changes can be a daunting experience, but often a necessary one to guarantee career satisfaction. Gone are the days when most of the workforce stayed in the one stable job for decades. Professionals these days view some roles as a springboard to bigger and better things. Perhaps roles with more responsibility or ones requiring a specific set of skills and experience. In fact, according to a Seek.com poll, over 57% of Australians have made significant career changes.
It can often be challenging to come up with a plan and figure out where to head next, and as the figures show, it has happened to many people in their careers. The job you thought you would love when you were in college is not what you imagined. A job you have had for a while is not what it used to be. Maybe you have outgrown the job, or as you have gained experience, the type of work that you are passionate about has changed. But, simply being dissatisfied with your current role or career does not help you to determine what is next. To truly figure out your career destiny, it helps to pinpoint what you have been most passionate about in previous positions and what work environments have made you feel the most energised. From there, you can start to plan what your ultimate goal is, and the steps needed to get there.
Whether you want to advance faster at your present company or department, change jobs, or make the jump to an entirely new field, the way to do it is by developing a compelling professional ‘brand’ by way of resume, cover letter and/or key selection criteria or application statement. Just thinking about this can be overwhelming, but the ideal place to start is to take a stocktake of your current skills. The good news is that very few of the skills you currently possess are going to be obsolete in future roles.
Making Career Changes ? It’s the Skills that Count
Identifying and enumerating your transferable skills—those skills and experiences that are potentially relevant to any career or role—should be both heartening and revealing. On the one hand, you should hopefully be pleased to discover that you have a great deal going for you already. It is surprising what you can learn about yourself by focusing on the skills and accomplishments you have gained throughout your career that can apply to a new opportunity. For example, if you are wanting to transition into sales, you can showcase your accomplishments that have impacted sales or revenue in your last role, or your ability to negotiate and persuade. Think in broad terms about what skills you use day-to-day, and how these can further you in your new career direction. Transferable skills do not necessarily need to come from one specific job you had in the past. These skills develop over time and across a wide variety of different jobs, activities, and experiences. From part-time jobs and volunteer experiences to extracurricular activities and hobbies, desirable skills and attributes can come from any point in your life, so it is important that you look holistically at your professional experience.
On the other hand, when undertaking a review of your skills, you may come face-to-face with the fact that you have some critical skills gaps. That is where learning new skills come in. These days, you can easily undertake a short course online or outside of work hours. However, there are also many opportunities to acquire experience that does not necessarily come from a job or short course. For example, if you have a passion for IT and want to get into programming, but past positions have not provided this opportunity, it is still possible to expand your abilities and even create a portfolio of experience and skills. Prepare for your desired career by studying programming, for instance, building your own application or program, or even cross-training with other departments at your present job. If time permits, volunteering can also be a great way of gaining skills and experience in a field you have not worked in before. If you are unsure about the change, volunteering can be a way of getting an idea of whether you want to go down a particular path. One of the advantages is that you can usually volunteer outside of your normal work hours, so you do not have to quit your current job before making any firm decisions about your future.
Once you have acquired the skills needed for your career change or worked to reframe your current skills for the new role, it is important to set appropriate expectations for the positions and income you will be qualified for in your new career. You may have to start at an entry-level position, or one requiring much less professional experience than you possess, especially if your skills do not translate directly. You may take a pay cut in the short term, but often you can get your foot in the door and count on your previous experience to help move your career forward.
Career changes are common, especially as technology and social media are re-inventing the way many parts of business work. Proper planning can make even a major transition an exhilarating life experience that will re-energise your work and positively affect your life. While you are looking for that dream job, why not consider engaging the services of Public Service Resumes. Our team of expert Resume Writers have the expertise to be able to assist you to draw out the relevant transferable skills you need to sell yourself to a new employer for the relevant career changes you are focusing on. Moreover, we are highly proficient in taking these skills, along with your experience and achievements, to put together a compelling application that will clearly demonstrate your worth in any new role!