Starting a New Chapter: The Benefits of a Career Change

By Jon Axcell, Managing Director, NP Talent Solutions. 

Despite having worked in recruitment for 12 years, until very recently I’ve still considered myself as being relatively new to my chosen career. Whilst being very privileged to hold a senior position in my current firm, I often look around at my peers and get impostor syndrome given almost all of them have spent their entire careers working within the recruitment sector, whilst I spent the first half of my working life doing something completely different.

Having graduated with a Law Degree, I planned to become a lawyer, before inadvertently falling into a finance career that spanned 12 years. And even after working in recruitment for 12 years I honestly still think of myself as relatively “new to the game”.

However, it struck me very recently that I’ve just passed the point where I’ve now spent more years working in recruitment than I did in finance. As I enter my 13th year in Talent Acquisition (as it’s now referred to), I am reflecting and assessing how well I’m doing, how I’m perceived and what the future brings.

Hitting this halfway point, (as well as having advised close friends and family members who have recently faced redundancy) got me thinking what advice I could give to someone actively looking to make a change in their career?

Just Go For it…

My instant reaction is “just go for it”! There’s no time like the present and you only live once. Life is short and the past 3 years of Covid has taught us nothing ever stays the same so take control of your future and guide its path.

“Control your own destiny rather than waiting for a change to be forced upon you”. Great platitudes and sentiment I’m sure, but in reality, if you’re considering a career change, it may very quickly feel like your world is being turned upside down. It can be daunting to make such a big decision, but if you take the time to really think through the considerations, you can make sure you’re making an informed choice that will set you up for future success.

You have to feel energised to want to do it, so don’t go in half-heartedly, and be prepared to take a step back salary wise in the first couple of years, but in the long run you will earn more, have a more valuable career and feel more energised working in an industry and job you feel passionate about rather than one where you are simply treading water.

What’s Your Motivation?

One of the most important things to consider when changing careers is your motivation. Why change? Are you looking for a fresh start, or for more money and recognition? It’s important to think about why you are making the switch and make sure it’s a strong fit for your future aspirations.

Answer this honestly, as only you truly know the reason. Are you unhappy, feel underpaid, have a lack of prospects, clash with your boss (probably not a good enough reason alone to completely change career, but it is often enough of a prompt to look more deeply at why you’re unhappy) … everyone has their own reasons but it’s important to really consider what yours is. 

What do you want out of your new career? What are you goals, what culture and environment suits you? What are your financial needs and within what timeframe? Can you sustain your current way of life if you make the change?

How to Choose New Career?

Could a hobby or passion become your new job – if so, have you considered it may take the joy out of the one thing that keeps you sane? Are you ready to throw yourself into this fully – hours, lack of home time, additional study, training, exams?

Have you explored the new industry, is their room for you within it, is the industry on the up, what is the job market outlook in your new field? These are all crucial questions to think about.

Assess Your Current Skills: Think about what sets you apart from other job applicants – what makes you an asset? Make a list of all your current skills and strengths and consider how they may be applicable to new career paths. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge and consider a change of career, it’s important to consider if your skills are transferable. Take stock of any qualifications or experience that could potentially be applicable in a new role and create a portfolio of work examples to show off what you have achieved. If there are any gaps in your knowledge or experience, find out about training opportunities to help fill them.

Take Inventory of Your Achievements: Reflect on your previous accomplishments and experiences, both in professional and personal domains, and think about how these can help you in different industries. What successes did you achieve in your past roles?

Brainstorm with Professionals in your preferred new sector: Seek advice and explore companies, roles, and speak to as many people as you can in your network who work in your new chosen field. And don’t rashly jump at the first job offer that comes along. When changing careers myself, I was lucky enough to get an unexpected offer very quickly, but decided to contact other firms and explain my situation before jumping in. By pitching myself and the offer I had to competitor firms I was fortunate to obtain 3 similar offers and was able to choose the best cultural fit, benefits package, and career path from a handful of options.

You Are Not Alone

On the other hand, if you’re currently considering a career change after being made redundant, understand you are not alone. Many people are feeling the effects of job insecurity in today’s unpredictable economic climate and turning to alternative routes to secure their financial future.

Don’t hide the fact that you’re out of work but try and see it as an opportunity, update your work profile on LinkedIn, let your networks, clients and ex-colleagues know you are open to new opportunities, explore short term contracts and project work and maybe investigate working for yourself as a contractor. Being made redundant can open the door to a new career path and a new lifestyle, maybe something you would never have considered if it had not been forced upon you.

Look at how you have embraced change at other times in your life, overcome challenges and sudden changes to your environment and bounced back. Covid taught us nothing is certain and brought about a huge change in work culture that may not have occurred for another generation. These changes brought with them more opportunities for job flexibility that has opened exciting jobs and careers that wouldn’t have been possible 3 years ago.

Also, leaving a job on good terms with employers can give you the advantage of references and contacts when searching for a new job. This could potentially lead to better salaries and opportunities in future roles. All things considered, there are positives of being made redundant, although you may not appreciate them right now.

Finally, a career change allows you to take time out for yourself and reassess your skills, interests, and goals for the future. Redundancy can also help you save money since living costs are usually reduced when one is unemployed. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to up-skill or retrain and explore different types of jobs that may be more suited to your skillset or desired lifestyle.

About NP Talent Solutions
At NP Talent Solutions, we challenge the status quo of the global talent market. We provide bold solutions, creative approaches and, above all, collaboration. We don’t believe in transactional recruitment relationships, focusing on forging close partnerships with all our clients.

Our consultants are highly knowledgeable in the industry sectors and technologies they serve and provide a consultative, advisory service tailored to you.

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