I was recently asked to write an article for my old university, London Metropolitan, about my journey since graduating in 2004, and writing the piece made me realise just how much my career has deviated from the original plan all those years ago.
That plan was to become a journalist and live happily ever after, and while I did go on to achieve the first part, the happily ever after bit didn’t come until I “switched lanes” and became a self-employed CV Consultant and in the process discovered that helping people find meaningful and enjoyable work lives is actually something I’m really passionate about and enjoy doing.
Switching lanes, or in other words, moving from one career to another, can seem intimidating at first, especially when you’ve worked in a certain field for most of your adult life. In my day-to-day work I come across countless people who are in one job but for whatever reason would much rather be doing something else, somewhere else.
I fully subscribe to the “life is too short so make the most of it” philosophy so if you’re in a place right now where you find yourself driving in automatic in one lane and constantly looking over enviously at the next, it might well be time for you to make the switch.
Here are three top tips for a smoother transition:
1) Study your new industry of choice – don’t just take a blind leap into a new career, study the field for a while and if possible, get some voluntary experience under your belt in order to build up enough confidence and experience to make a full switch. You may have to retrain or even start over again at the bottom and work your way up, but what’s important is that you are at least taking the necessary steps to a happier work life.
2) Remember your existing skills and knowledge – whereas experience is limited to place and time, skill and knowledge have no such boundaries and can be transferred between industries. Use this to your advantage by creating a skills-based CV for your new career, highlighting all the skills and knowledge you already possess that are relevant to your new industry.
3) Plan your escape and stick to it – put a date on it and if you feel confident enough, tell one or two close friends or family members so they can hold you accountable (bear in mind, some may think you’re crazy and others may try and talk you out of it!). If you don’t, procrastination may get the better of you and five years from now you may well find yourself still driving in the same lane – except this time, even more miserable than before!
If you know it’s time to switch but you don’t yet have another lane in mind, it might be a good idea to seek help from a reputable career coach to discover what it is you really want to do and then start taking the steps towards making it happen.
7 Keys to a Winning CV: How to create a CV that gets results is available from Amazon and all good bookshops
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