It seems like many of our clients are currently at a crossroad. They’ve amassed a great deal of experience and knowledge throughout their career and they’re really interested in heading in another direction, or seeking a role higher up the ladder. The problem is they just can’t bring themselves to make that next career change. Sound familiar?
When you’re thinking about embarking on a new career or direction, often the fear of the unknown is so overwhelming that you end up doing nothing. If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. I speak to clients on a weekly basis who are in a similar position. Often they’ll know where they want to head and believe in themselves enough to understand the value they can offer, but they just can’t bring themselves to go out and try.
I worked with a client recently who was in exactly this position. She was a very experienced senior ICT Manager with a background in senior roles across multiple countries. Her expertise was primarily in complex multi-year strategy development and execution. In recent years she’d amassed a fair bit of experience in change management and had been involved in some major transformational projects. This was where her passions were and this is what she wanted to be doing full time. She articulated that very well to me during our consultation and I recognised her capabilities and skillset as being well aligned to the area. I proceeded to prepare her new documents based on my understanding.
However, when we got to the first review of her new Resume, she felt the Resume was not really ‘shining’ for senior IT Manager roles (it was tailored for senior Change Manager roles). The problem was, she suddenly got scared and thought “What if this doesn’t work out for me? I really need to hedge my bets and make sure my Resume works for both roles.”
The problem with this approach stems from today’s competitive market. In most cases there will be many applicants for every role you apply for, no matter what industry or area you work in. When you put yourself up against someone who meets the role brief perfectly – the fact that you have all this other ‘additional’ experience and expertise doesn’t matter. In many cases it is actually detrimental to your success because the ‘clutter’ just gets in the way and makes you seem like a ‘not so perfect fit’.
My approach to ‘getting off the fence’ and making a career change is really just to go do it, but I know that’s easier said than done. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Define the job requirements: find three or four jobs that perfectly match what you’re after – and identify the common requirements.
- Audit your skillset: based on the requirements you’ve defined – define your list of ‘key capabilities’ specifically targeted towards your new career focus.
- Identify your transferrable skills: to support your efforts in demonstrating why you’d be an asset in the role. List everything that might be valuable in the role you’re aiming for.
- Focus on relevance: brainstorm where you have achieved success and emphasise projects and accomplishments that relate to your new area, leaving out anything that’s not relevant.
- Write a compelling summary: prepare an overview of you and what you offer. Include a mixture of your success, qualifications, key capabilities, and any relevant personal attributes – targeted towards the roles you’re applying for.
- Network: you could approach employers cold by sending a letter or email, but a better approach is to leverage your existing network. If you know someone within a company, don’t be afraid to ask for their advice or help in ensuring your approach is relevant.
- Give it time: making a successful career change takes time, so don’t give up. In the meantime, take advantage of every opportunity to hone the skills that are relevant to your new career path and stay focused on your end goal.
Are you procrastinating about making a career change? Our Career Counselling service can help you get clear on the best path to take. Are you lacking a good quality Resume or online profile to help you find your perfect role? If you would like assistance writing professional documents that highlight your strengths and achievements and set you apart from your competitors, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing or Resume Writing Services.