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How to Make a Career Change

How to Make a Career Change

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Published by Monster UK
Switching from one industry to another can be an experience, but this eBook will help ease the process, describing the steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transition.
Switching from one industry to another can be an experience, but this eBook will help ease the process, describing the steps you need to take to ensure a smooth transition.

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Published by: Monster UK on Aug 12, 2009
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How to Make a Career Change

When is it the right time to change jobs?
There are a lot of things to consider when deciding when and why to move on. To begin with, you need to assess where you are now, what you have achieved and where you want to be in a few years time.
What do you enjoy about your present job? What don’t you enjoy? What do you feel is missing? What have you enjoyed about any previous roles you have done? How will you know when you have achieved it? As well as your own personal motives for wanting to change jobs, there are plenty of other reasons out of your control that cause you to leave your current position, including:
• • •

potential financial difficulties for your employer your company moving into a different area of business a collapse in communication with your manager or colleagues

Spotting when the time is right If you do decide to leave a job, quitting at the wrong time can hit you in the pocket if you’re not careful. For example, leaving just before your big bonus is due is not very sensible. It’s a good idea to think about whether you’re currently paid in advance or in arrears as any change may affect your monthly cash flow.

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If you’ve got a holiday planned, wait until you get back before handing in your notice. Your new employer won’t take kindly to you booking two weeks off during your probation period. Leave in a position of strength Once you’ve made the decision to leave, make sure you have somewhere to go before handing in your notice. Don’t be tempted to storm off in a huff or make some sort of statement if it means leaving yourself vulnerable. It’s much easier to find a job when you already have one. A long period of unemployment sends out a bad signal to a future employer. Don’t ignore the consequences of quitting before you have a new job lined up, no matter how much you dislike where you’re working. Apart from looking bad as you start applying for new jobs, voluntarily leaving your former role could compromise your eligibility for unemployment benefits. Money shouldn’t be the only reason If money is the overriding issue in your desire for change, have the courage to address it before thinking about leaving. If you don’t feel you’re getting paid enough, ask for more. This can be a scary experience, but it could solve your problem.

Further Reading
- How can I manage a gap in my earnings? - How can I secure a pay rise?

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

How do I find a career that will suit me?
Ask a class of schoolchildren what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll receive some great answers – unfortunately most of them won’t achieve their astronaut or ballerina dreams.
As you progress through your education most of us will lean towards the subjects that most interest us, but transferring that to a career is not always simple. If you’ve fallen into the wrong occupation and are looking to make a change, it’s never too late to switch direction. Assessing your options The first thing is to get a few basics down on paper so that you can assess them clearly. Work out your likes and dislikes and what your main skills are. Because self-assessment can be a tricky process, it might be worth using a career coach to point you in the right direction. Remember, it’s not about choosing the right answer, it’s about finding out which careers are right for your personality. Assessment tests can also help you quantify how you relate to other people and how you approach problem solving. Whether you feel you know where you’d like to be or not, you may find out something surprising about yourself or a career path you hadn’t previously considered.

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Once you’ve completed some serious soul searching and got clear answers to those tough questions, be realistic about the options open to you. Going to university full-time or retraining simply might not be possible if you are a single mother, have large mortgage payments or care for a frail relative. Consider whether your ideal role is in the same industry you already have experience in. It is far easier to change jobs within the same sector and you may just need to find a more exciting company to work for. Another important factor to consider is the amount of progression that a certain job or career path allows. Aiming for a job that will satisfy your needs now may be good for the short-term, but what about in five years time when you need to earn. Back yourself to succeed Now you’ve identified where you want to go, get on with it. Research the latest developments in your chosen industry, network as widely as you can at industry events and talk to people who do the job you want to do. Make yourself an empl0oyer’s most attractive prospect by proving you are motivated, informed and know what you have to offer can benefit their business.

See the options…
There are thousands of careers available and it’ can seem like a daunting prospect to find out what’s right for you. That’s where our Career Snapshots tool comes in handy, allowing you to explore the options that are out there.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

How can I change my career?
Do you love your job? You should, and you certainly could. Although many people complain about their work or see it as a necessary evil, it doesn’t need to be that way. If you think you’d rather be somewhere else on a Monday morning, take control and do something positive to change your situation.
Would you do your job if you weren’t being paid? It’s a good question, and one that most people would probably answer in the negative. Imagine what it would feel like to enjoy your job as much as your leisure time, waking up every day eager to get on with the job. The average person will work 40 hours a week for the better part of 40 years. That’s nearly 80,000 hours of your life. Doesn’t it make sense to spend your working time somewhere you want to be? The first step is tailoring your CV for the new career you’re after. Take a look at the different skills you have acquired over the years many of them may be useful in another industry.

Further Reading
- Should I become a specialist or a generalist? - How can I get a job working outdoors?

www.monster.co.uk
These transferable skills are often overlooked by career changers but are desired by almost every employer: • • • • • • • IT literacy Numeracy Problem-solving Research and analysis Foreign languages Presentation skills Organisation and time-keeping

This applies to achievements as well. If you’ve been successful in one job, chances are you will continue the trend in another. Remember that specific details of the tasks might not be recognised in an alternative sector, so keep the examples brief. Getting your name out there Changing career is not easy, but very achievable. Once you’ve convinced yourself it’s the best thing for you and have the hard evidence to back this up, it’s going to be much easier to persuade a potential employer. Find out as much as you can about your new industry by attending conferences or networking events and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the industry you’re heading towards. You’ll really impress your interviewer if you can show a dedication to the position, before you’re even in it. Unless time-travel is invented, you won’t get a second chance, so make sure you act now to create the life you want for yourself.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

Can a step back help my long-term career?
Climbing the corporate ladder isn’t the same as it once was. The days when working for the same company for decades have been replaced by an average of over six companies throughout a working life.
What was once viewed as ‘job-hopping’ is now often regarded as ambition to advance one’s career - providing there aren’t too many jobs on your CV with short durations and no explanation. Staying with an organisation that offers little in the way of career progression will do your career more harm than good. And, if you have been banging on the door of management but feel that you have exhausted your chances of promotion, then it is natural that you will be looking for the opportunity to progress elsewhere. Therefore, to get ahead, there may be times when you will have to take one step backwards before moving two steps forward, regardless of whether you are staying in the same field of changing to a different career. Much of the negativity associated with taking a step back in your career, is psychological. Your responsibilities will be less in comparison to your previous job and you will probably be earning less money.

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But, earning less now could put you in line for a quicker rise to the top, especially if you move to a company renowned for allowing a fast-track path to management. Look at whether the post has a strong long-term potential within an organisation that has an enviable reputation in your industry which could boost your overall career prospects. Consider what opportunities the position can offer you in terms of learning new skills, experiencing a different environment and working practice. Use the skills and knowledge that you have acquired throughout your career to make you an invaluable asset to your colleagues and management in your new position. Whereas the road to the top used to involve working your way up through the ranks in the same organisation, only about 10% of chief executives in the UK today have spent their entire career following this route. Career experts predict that in the future, the senior positions in organisations will be held by people who have come from more diverse backgrounds. Choosing your career options is like playing chess. Approach your choices with caution. Access your options. Tactfully envisage how your next career move will determine your move after that. And then play it out.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

How can I work out my value in the job market?
Different jobs and industries have vastly different pay scales. As you work out your real worth in the job you are in now or hope to move into, do everything you can to research the market.
Understanding the relationship Just like many areas of business, employment is a deal done on the basis of supply and demand. The workers with the skills and experience influence supply in the job market, how rare you and your skills are and how much your employer needs you is the fundamental basis for calculating your worth in salary and benefits. The Internet is a priceless tool for salary research. Using an online salary calculator will give you a rough idea of what you can expect in your particular role, industry and location. Search through various job descriptions to benchmark your role against. It will give you a good idea of the key attributes companies are looking for in certain jobs, which means you can emphasise these in your CV to make yourself a more attractive prospect. Using your findings If you're approaching your boss for a pay increase in your current role, you can expect some scepticism when you present your results, so be ready to back them up with specific examples.

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There may be things you are doing that your boss is not actively aware of, such as working unpaid overtime at home or skills you have developed, which are a real benefit to the business. All these can be used as extra leverage when you get down to the actual numbers. If you're discussing the possible salary for a new job, your potential employer will usually have a salary range in mind set by their management team. Consider the offer and match it up with your research to see if it's fair. Budget constraints operate in every business and it's impossible to accommodate every pay demand from every employee. If money really does end up as a stumbling block, consider using transferable skills to move into a more profitable and high-paying industry or job. Choosing the right company to work for is an important decision at every step of your career, and if one doesn't appreciate your value in the market, there will be another out there that does.

See the data…
Monster’s Career Benchmarking tools allow you to compare yourself with your peers to find out if you’re earning enough, if you have the right work-life balance, if your commute is about average and lots more useful facts and figures.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

What is networking and how do I do it?
Essentially, networking is getting to know people who can help you develop your career prospects. You don't need to be a big shot or the most outgoing person in the world to network effectively.
Take it a step at a time. Begin with people you know, at work and in your social life. Keep your ears open and listen for information that could work to your advantage. A lot of good jobs never make it to the pages of a recruitment website or newspaper. They get filled by word of mouth and the more senior the position, the more often it happens this way. Like any other form of social behaviour, networking follows certain rules: First impressions count - both face-to-face and via the phone or email. Always stay sharp.

Don't ask directly for a job - networking is not a job fair; it's an opportunity to gather potentially useful information.

Give and take - networking is a two-way exchange; there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Do the groundwork - research your contacts before meeting them and always follow up good leads or they pass on.

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Even if you're new to the game, you may have lots of worthwhile contacts you hadn't seen in that way before: • • •

Old school, college or university classmates Friends and family Your doctor, lawyer or accountant Former colleagues or bosses

Keep good records of who you meet and the conversations you've had - there's no point building a network of contacts that you then forget. Also aim to stay in regular touch even when you're not after anything specific. Networking events and conferences are good ways to build a network if you're not sure where to start. Make sure you know why you are there and what you want out of it and make sure you have a few copies of your CV or business cards. If you're not used to the idea yet, networking can be scary; like it's something for super-confident types who get all the best jobs anyway. But that's not the whole story. The Internet has made networking a viable option for everyone and there are many forums and business networking sites which enable business people to share and discuss their views and knowledge, but can never completely replace actually getting out and showing your face.

Further Reading
-

How do I build and maintain a contact database? How can I benefit from conferences?

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

How do I make my job relocation run smoothly?
Making the decision to relocate is a massive life change and it doesn’t just affect you – your friends and family will all need to adapt to accommodate the new situation.
The reasons for wanting to move elsewhere are numerous. Maybe you’re sick of the city and need some fresh air and countryside. Maybe you’ve had troubles in other areas of your life and need a new start. Whatever your reasons, the methods for ensuring you relocation runs smoothly are the same. Deciding where to go If the move is your idea rather than your company’s, then the kind of place you end up is going to be the biggest decision to make. For those of you who have no idea where you want to go, think long and hard about what’s important to you. Do you want to stay in the UK? How close do you want to be to your family? Nobody can tell you what the perfect location for you is. You’re highly advised to sort out your work situation in a new location before making a move. If you think that employers will only consider you if you’re living locally, reassure them in your cover letter that your intentions are to move once a position has been secured.

www.monster.co.uk
Moving with your employer Sometimes change is forced on us by our employer heading to pastures new. You’re likely to be given a couple of weeks to decide whether you want to move with them so use this time wisely to make an informed decision. Apply all the same principles as you would if you were choosing to move voluntarily, and don’t feel under massive pressure to move simply to keep your job. If you do decide to move with your employer, check out what financial support is going to be available to you to cover the great expense of moving. Settling in to your new surroundings It’s always tough building up new social networks from scratch, but use your imagination and look for ways to get involved with your new neighbours and the community. If you have children, you’ll generally meet other parents through school activities. Your new colleagues are an obvious group of people to get involved in social activities with, but be careful not to come across as too needy before you’ve integrated into the team.

Get to know an area… Whether you’re moving from a small suburban location to the city or the opposite way, Monster’s Local Guides will help you adjust as easily as possible. They include advice on what it’s like to live and work in an area, up-to-date house price information, a map of local amenities and salary data for the region.

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

How should my CV look if I'm changing career?
Career change CVs are completely different animals. Your current CV played an effective part in getting you the job you have now, but it might not work again in another industry.
For this reason, you will almost certainly have to work through it and tailor it to the needs of the sector you're hoping to break into. As ever, communication is vital. Check job sites for the kind of roles that are available, and see what skills, qualifications or other attributes are being asked for. Work through all your experience and transferable skills, and begin to create a portrait of yourself that potential employers will be able to relate to. Making things clear Based on your research into your prospective employer's industry, write down a list of the qualifications and skills you have that are most likely to appeal to your potential employer. Because your previous jobs may not have any direct relevance to your new career, it's worth switching your CV around so the skills section is the first thing a reader sees. Make it clear that you're aware of the differences between your old industry and your target one, and these skills are the reason why your switch will be a success.

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Use your imagination and common sense and exploit every positive you can find to build up a picture that will appeal to your future employer. Your lack of experience in their industry will be irrelevant if the rest of the CV proves your value. The job of a career change CV is to make your switch seem like the logical next step, enabling future employers to see why they should give you a shot at succeeding in a new field. Getting your name out there Networking is of great value here, so see if you can get into a relevant business group or club. It also pays to ask around amongst friends and colleagues to see whether they have any contacts that may be of help. As every industry has its own way of doing things, these contacts will be invaluable when it comes to giving you pointers on perfecting your document. They will quickly notice any vital information missing. Making prospective applications and posting your CV on Monster will put it in front of employers who are on the look out for new talent. Making the switch to a new company is always easier if they come to you rather than you chasing after them!

Further Reading
- How should I list my previous jobs on my CV? - What makes a good CV design and layout? - How can I make my CV more effective?

‘Grass is Greener’ eBooks

How to Make a Career Change

They say that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, but often it is. Our series of eBooks brings together expert advice to help you secure the job you want and build a successful career. For more career tools, visit career-advice.monster.co.uk.

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