Wednesday, 1 June 2011

If you change career, do you have to retrain or work up from the bottom of the ladder again?

If I was given £1 for every time someone said to me that they would like to change career but can’t face retraining or going to the bottom of the ladder, I would be earning a very decent side income with no retraining involved!  This may be good for me but so much opportunity would have been lost by those who thought in this way and this is the reason why....

A year or two ago, I met Jessica who worked in the financial sector.  She was 28 years old and desperately wanted a career change.  However, she had worked really hard over the last few years, training and developing in her career, and did not want to go back to square one through her career change. 

Jessica had a desire to work in the charity sector and she assumed that to succeed she would either have to work as an intern, do work experience or complete a course to equip her with the necessary skills.   She was wrong!  To get where she is today, she did not do work experience, she did not apply for an internship and she did not complete a course.

What did she do instead?

She closely examined her transferable skills from her career to date and personal life and matched them creatively to job specifications. She also networked within the charity sector to find out about other people’s experiences within the sector. 

What was the end result? 

She obtained a job with a charity and loves it!  Furthermore, she only had to accept a slight decrease in salary in comparison to what she had been expecting.

During a recent catch up with Jessica,  she said that some of the best advice she was given a year ago included:

1.     Don’t set your sights too low; and 
2.     Remember to use your existing skills and experience to your advantage.

There are of course some professions where formal training is necessary such as law and teaching.  However, there are also many jobs that don’t require this.  So remember, you may already have the transferable skills, experience and network to be able to change career in the direction and at the level you want.  All you need to do now is ensure you sell yourself well and go for it!  Don’t set your sights too low.

A career change can be made through the good use of your existing skills, experience and network.

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