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When is the right time for a Career Change?
Only 13% of people worldwide feel engaged at work, meaning that they are emotionally invested in their role and feel motivated to create value for their organisation.* So it’s safe to assume that there will come a point in your career where you will seriously consider changing career paths. While it’s easy to recognise when you’re not at your happiest in your role, it can be difficult to differentiate between a temporary rut and a serious problem.
A career change can bring with it a more preferable social status, social structure and give you a renewed sense of purpose, but when poorly executed a career change can bring financial insecurity, increased stress and a loss of power, and you might find that it still isn’t the right field for you.
The key to a successful career change is getting the timing right, but considering the widely held belief that all employment follow a structured path in a single field, it is difficult to know when the time has come. Disengagement is difficult to deal with, and it’s understandable to seek drastic change if you feel like you’re stagnating. However, it’s important to remember that changing careers can have a massive emotional and professional impact. If you change your mind, it might make it harder to get back into your previous career path or break into a new one, as hiring managers may conclude that you are indecisive or impulsive.
What steps can be taken to ease the transition from one career to another?
First you need to identify what you’re looking for in a new role. Write a list of what exactly you require from your new role from a practical standpoint, for example if you need to work 4 days a week to be able to pick up your children, or need to be customer-facing to feel fulfilled, or would prefer to work remotely and so on. Next, begin brainstorming your skills and identify any weaknesses. This is an excellent stepping stone towards narrowing down which kinds of jobs might play to your strengths while keeping you fulfilled.
Rather than writing a list a mile long with experience relevant to Sales when you want to move into a Marketing role, instead focus on your skills and achievements. Instead of listing qualities such as effective communication or project management, expand on what those qualities have enabled you to accomplish – think about what a hiring manager would want to know. In this case, a cover letter can help you to make a stronger case; in acknowledging that you may not fit the criteria for a role in a straightforward way, you can show hiring managers that your difference in background gives you a unique perspective which might be exactly what their team is missing.
Set up informal meetings with professionals in fields or roles that pique your interest. Try to get an insight into as many options as possible; this will help you identify what’s right for you. Ask these professionals what they most enjoy about their field, and what the biggest challenges are. It can be tempting to focus on the pull-factors when you want to make a decision, but the last thing you want to do is rush into a decision and end up back at square one.
Networking with those already immersed in a career that could be for you can give a clearer image of which aspects of your background will appeal to hiring managers; this can make the difference between giving the impression you’ve mistakenly applied for the wrong job and getting called for an interview.
At CSG, each of our consultants specialise within a niche market, across the practice areas of Built Environment, Consumer, Health & Social Care, Life Sciences, Energy and Engineered Products. Over 13 years, we have built extensive networks and through our close relationships with our clients we can provide insight into exactly which aspects of your skills and experience will appeal to hiring managers within a given field.
Changing careers is a difficult process, and career-changers will often struggle to air any difficulties or concerns they have at work because they worry about how this will affect their new colleagues’ perception of them. We can provide support and advice throughout the process; in all likelihood, other candidates have faced similar fears, doubts, or obstacles so we are uniquely placed to advise on how you can rise to the challenges and start making a positive impact.
If you’re ready to make changes, but aren’t quite sure where to start, you can contact us for a no-pressure discussion of your options, or if you are ready to take your next steps and would like our assistance, you can reach us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on +44 (0) 113 239 5393.