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Shifting your career path
Keen to embark on a new career? Whether you want to change role functions or move to a new industry, there’s a lot to consider. So, before handing in your notice it can be useful to explore the steps you can make towards a career transition while you’re in your current role.
Volunteering and temping
One way of gaining experience in the industry you’d like to get into is volunteering in your spare time. If you can’t find somewhere that takes on volunteers you might consider finding part-time or temporary work. The benefit of gaining experience before applying for roles is that you’ll have firsthand knowledge of whether you’ll enjoy working in the sector and you’ll be a more desirable candidate to prospective employers. Another route to go down is taking part in an internship. They’re not always paid but by their nature are learning-based.
Not every career move will be a smooth transition. Even if you’ve advanced in your current role you may still be under qualified for another, particularly if you’re changing industry. In order to get yourself to the right professional level, you may have to consider developing yourself outside of work by part-time studying.
The experience and insight you’ve accrued during your current role won’t be lost if you decide to change your career. Plenty of skills are ‘transferable’, such as the ability to delegate tasks, or conduct presentations, therefore can be used in many roles and in many organisations. Of course, if you’ve spent a long time developing a very specific skill set, you might find that changing careers means you no longer need those skills.
If you’ve actively networked throughout your career you should find that when you’d like to make a change you’re well placed for seeking advice from your contacts. If you’ve built relationships with people who are already in the industry you’re trying to break into, use them for information and introductions.
However, there are some risks in shifting your career path, so consider the following:
- You may not be able to join a new organisation at your current level, which may mean a lower salary or the necessity for training.
- If you do need extra training/education, unless an organisation is willing to pay for it, you may have to spend money on a course while you’re not working.
- You might lose contact with current colleagues; it can be hard work making new friends at a new place of work and it’s time consuming maintaining relationships from current and past organisations.
- As a newbie you’ll have to prove your worth to your new employers, even if they can see your past experience on your CV they haven’t witnessed you working first-hand.
- A new organisation might not offer the same progression opportunities that your current one does, make sure to research this first if you have any aspirations for development.
If you’ve decided that shifting your career path is what you want to do, browse our current job opportunities and see what’s on the market.