Got the back to work blues? How to make a successful career change

If your New Year’s resolution is a career change, you’re not alone. According to research, approximately two-fifths of workers in the U.K. begin a new job search in January. It makes sense: a new year is the perfect opportunity to make a fresh start and resolve to be happier in your career.

But don’t let the increased applicant pool put you off. The good news is, the economy is picking up, and with it, demand for Information Management professionals in areas where there is a skills gap. At KDR, we’re seeing this trend particularly in the retail, financial services and digital marketing fields, where there’s been a 30% increase in Data Management vacancies we’ve been asked to fill since 2013.

Ideally, you will have had time over the Christmas break to do some soul-searching about what you’d like to do, where you want to do it – and just as important to ask yourself – what you want to get out of a career change. It may seem obvious, but our advice is to have a cohesive goal in mind. This will help you focus your job search in a proactive way, rather than simply looking at job vacancies and applying at random to posts that look acceptable. You don’t want to merely settle for something new; you want to have some input on your own career trajectory.

Getting the word out

Once you’ve narrowed in on the type of job you want to look for, it’s time to take the first steps in marketing yourself. Start by following these steps:

  • Research the market you’re interested in. Talk to family, friends and colleagues who may have valuable information or connections; research trade press and social media sites; use professional networking tools such as LinkedIn.
  • Be sure your online presence is professional and shows you in a good light. Increasingly, organisations are pre-vetting candidates by looking at their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, so if there’s something out there you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, take time to sort that out first.
  • Engage a recruiter. The benefit of working with a recruiter is that you have a dedicated contact to represent you, one who knows the job market in your field. Talk to your recruiter about your career change goals and take full advantage of their insights. We might happen to know a good one!

Write a great CV

While these days there are other ways to catch an employer’s attention, there’s no substitute for a really effective CV. Look at it as an opportunity to make a clean start by articulating your career goals and objectives, and making an inventory of your strengths. It’s a topic we’ve covered a fair bit, so have a look at our latest blog post How To Write a Great CV for more detailed help. If you opt for using a CV template, you can read our advice on how to do so effectively.

Think about your transferable skills

All too often, we see job seekers become frustrated early on in the process because they’re not finding many vacancies in their sector, or they believe their past experience ties them to doing the same kind of work forever. One candidate I worked with recently summed up this sort of mental roadblock when he said ‘I’ve been working here for my whole career to date. I don’t know how to do anything else.’ It’s an understandable sentiment but the truth is, your strengths are not limited to the specific job functions you’ve performed. Instead, think about how the skills you’ve developed could be applicable in other ways.

Take this example – We were searching for a data analyst for a large financial services company and approached a great candidate who had worked in the telecoms industry for most of his career. We could see from his previous work and projects that his skills in understanding this type of data would be ideally suited to the financial services sector. The candidate felt that he was bound to working in telecoms and until that point, hadn’t felt that he could break out of that sector.

So take time to think about how you can transfer your skills to other sectors by focusing on bigger-picture qualities: research skills, decision-making, negotiating, problem-solving, leadership, management, training or customer service, to name a few examples. Now more than ever, data is a critical function at just about every kind of company, so don’t hesitate to expand your horizons.

We wish you all the best in your job search, and remember that any of our team are happy to talk if you need some career change advice. Happy New Year!

Inspire us with your examples of changing your career, either from a different industry or a new role altogether. How did it happen? Comment Below.

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best data, technology and analytics jobs. For more career advice follow KDR on LinkedIn.

Chris Bongard

January 5th, 2015 View my profile

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