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Tips for following a new career path

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When you were first starting out, you may have had an idea of your professional life continuing to develop in one direction as you gradually worked your way up the ladder of your chosen occupation. However, today’s career path is rarely a straight line – it is common for people to move laterally into a different role, an alternative part of their industry, or even try out a new profession all together.

For whatever reason, there may come a time when you decide you no longer want to continue on the same path and are ready for a drastic change. Senior Consultant Wendy French explains that while this can be an intimidating prospect, it is also a rewarding one if you manage the transition well.

Embarking on a new career is much more complex than just changing jobs, so it’s important to manage the transition well.

Time for a change?

Everyone wants to get satisfaction from their careers. It’s not just about enjoying your job – if you are passionate about your career you have a much better chance of performing well and reaching your goals. As a result, exploring your options may be the right decision for moving your career forward in the long term. However, Ms French explains that this is often a huge undertaking.

“There’s an enormous difference between job searching in a field in which you have experience and starting on a completely new career track. The prospect of changing careers can be exhilarating and daunting!” she said.

“Changing careers takes focus, commitment and courage and requires short-term, intermediate and long-term goals.”

Luckily, this doesn’t mean completely starting from scratch. Even if you are moving into an entirely different industry, there are many skills you posses that can be applied to your new role.

“Whenever embarking on a career change you can expect to use many or all of your current skills,” said Ms French. “Aside from the hard skills and qualifications that allow you to perform your particular role, your personal talents and abilities you can take from job to job or use in multiple careers are transferrable skills. These cover various categories including communication skills, public speaking, training, technical writing, writing grants, collaborating, business development, management skills, research and planning skills, computer and technical skills.”

Exploring new frontiers and bridging the gaps

A vital first step when making any major career change is to gather all the information you can to make the most informed decision possible – starting with yourself.

“Refine your focus and know exactly which talents, skills and expertise you wish to utilise that will add value in your next career; your passions that give your work a sense of purpose; your core values and standards of integrity as well as your life goals can also affect your new career direction,” advises Ms French.

Along with this insight, you should also research your desired industry, look into roles that appeal to you and identify any skills gaps you possess. From there, you will be well-equipped to create a focussed resume and develop your professional network. In addition, Ms French notes that the market knowledge of an experienced recruiter will be invaluable when bridging into any new profession.

“By building and developing a solid relationship with your recruiter you will benefit from their understanding of you, which in turn, will allow them to successfully ‘sell’ your brand, experience and personal attributes to handpicked opportunities,” she said.

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