Authors: Jon Wall – Client Director, Rohan Maheswaran – Team Manager, Engineering
There are a huge number of reasons anyone could consider a career change at any given time, but particularly in a downturn this idea could prove more tempting. Here are the things to consider:
- Get prepared – many jobs sound interesting in theory, but when you understand what they actually involve day-to-day you may be less convinced. Likewise you might start exploring something in more detail and find yourself drawn in, which suggests it could be a good avenue for the longer term. You can’t guarantee a career change will instantly be right, but you can be proactive in your research and converse with people in the space to ensure you are making an informed decision that suits you.
- Understand your experience – once you have found a new career you are interested in pursuing, you need to know what skills you have that are transferable, or you can upskill in to make you relevant. Competing in a new field means you start at a disadvantage, but it does not mean your previous experience counts for nothing. Understand what can be substituted and if there is experience you lack, what can you do to close the gap.
- Think about skills for the long-term – Coaching is key, regardless of whether you want to line manage or not. It will help engage colleagues, stakeholders, clients positively in tricky situations and help build personal resilience – more important than ever to think about at the moment.
- Who can help – some career changes are easier than others, but with any change you make, having a few shortcuts to help you on your way is always useful. Whether it is friends, former colleagues or recruiters, companies will more likely take a chance on someone they know well, even if it was in a different capacity.
What key skills will be most valued by employers over the next 12 months?
- Comfort with ambiguity
- Software & data engineering
- Analytics & data science
- Qualitative research to understanding rapidly changing consumer behaviours
How do you assess if a company is the right cultural fit for you?
There is no point making a career change to end up back where you started. So here are the things to look out for when assessing if a company is right for you:
- Do they share your values? Each company has its own identity and set of values which govern how they operate. A good fit is often based on these being reflected in the individuals they hire themselves so use the interview process as a chance to assess this. Think about things like the communication style used, how they support employee growth, the work environment provided and how they handle conflict. These will give you a steer on whether you would be happy there.
- Read up. Check for any relevant news or information you can find on the business and what it is like to work there. Whilst all good and bad reviews need to be taken with some discretion, they are normally a good indicator of the truth and could help you validate any pros or cons.
- Evaluate the full picture. Everyone has their own tick list to work through. This may include things like the mission, progression, salary, location and much more. For most people there are a few things which cannot be compromised on and others which you are flexible on. If you find you are in a position where you are compromising too much then take some time to evaluate whether the company and fit is right for you.