A tall pole with several different colour arrows on it pointing in different directions against a bright blue sky symbolising a career change.
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How to successfully navigate a career change

17 Feb 2022

LHH Ireland’s Pamela Rooney shares her advice on how to embrace a career change and ensure the transition is a success.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” Amelia Earhart’s words ring true for many situations in life but seem particularly applicable to anyone going through a career change – be that voluntarily or not.

While changing jobs can be an exciting prospect, it can also be a daunting one. And if you’ve been job hunting for a while with no luck, it’s easy to start feeling hopeless.

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However, the following pieces of advice are important to consider, whether you’re thinking about a career transition or currently going through one.

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Embrace the new challenge

Whether you’re choosing to change jobs or find yourself in the unfortunate position of being made redundant, it’s important to view this change as a new challenge. It’s an exciting new venture for you to leave your mark on.

If you’re entering a new field, you don’t have to leave your previous experience at the door – if anything, it is an asset. View any new experience as a chance to further enhance your skillset, and an opportunity to future-proof your CV.

List out your skills

Positive affirmation can have a huge impact on your mental health and productivity. If you have changed career direction it can be easy to feel like a fish out of water and it’s only natural to feel like you are starting from square one.

This can understandably lead to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. It’s easy to forget your strengths and skills, especially when going through a career change, so listing these skills out will not only remind you but will serve as a confidence boost when entering a new career arena.

This also has an additional benefit of highlighting areas where you might want to bridge skills’ gaps, develop new ones or explore how these skills may be used in other situations. Evidence of having continued to develop professionally is always seen positively by employers.

Work on your social media presence

If you find yourself unemployed due to redundancy, take this time to work on your personal brand. Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Have you done an audit on what potential employers can see about you on your social media profiles?

It’s a crowded market out there so it’s important that your online presence only serves to help and not hinder you. I’d also actively encourage joining online networking groups and signing up to regular job alerts in your chosen field.

It’s good to stay on top of your social media presence anyway, ensuring the job descriptions from your previous jobs are up to date and any skills you have are listed out. Staying active on professional networking sites like LinkedIn can also be seen positively by potential employers.

Expand your network

Do not underestimate the importance of networking, especially in today’s climate. Spend some time regularly developing your network and keeping in touch.

Follow other people’s careers, learn from their journeys and introduce yourself to new contacts. Being seen to be proactive with your career will get you noticed.

Tap into networking groups or form your own. Motivation and support during a time of change is the key to not losing focus so contact others who are experiencing the same changes to swap tips, contacts and ideas.

It’s also worth remembering that recruiters are there to help you through the process, especially if you’re struggling with your job hunt. Reconnect with recruiters that you have spoken with, or that have reached out to you in the past. Equally, ask your network for recommendations of recruiters they have worked with.

Don’t give up

Too often we can become defined by our careers and job title, but I’d encourage you to remember that your career isn’t defined.

Many careers aren’t linear and having a change can be great for your mental health, as well as your career progression.

Although it might not always look like it during a job hunt, there will be opportunities ahead. With any change comes new challenges, so leave yourself open to embrace them.

Don’t blame yourself

If you have been made redundant, it’s important to remember that job roles are made redundant, not people.

Finding yourself without employment is not a reflection on you as an individual or an employee. Businesses have been rocked by an unprecedented level of disruption during these last two years, causing job losses at all levels and across all industries.

All in all, having a career change has often been viewed as a negative thing when in reality, it’s a really exciting opportunity for you to try something new, keep progressing professionally and expand your network and skillset.

Try to consider this as a positive experience rather than a negative one and take your time to understand what it is you want and how best to achieve this.

By Pamela Rooney

Pamela Rooney is an executive coach at HR consulting company LHH Ireland.

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