“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.”
- George Bernard Shaw

Despite economic growth and an increase in employment, many job seekers still feel a sense of frustration when looking for work. This is likely due to the fact that while hiring is on the rise in some sectors, it isn’t the case across the board. 

So, if a job seeker is feeling frustrated with the lack of jobs in a particular sector, considering a career change might just provide the window of opportunity that they're looking for.

Stagnation in a specific employment sector may be the perfect catalyst to transfer experience and skills to a new career.  Be warned however: changing careers can be a lucrative move for many, but it does take perseverance and motivation to accomplish such a shift.

Making the move

It’s not an easy feat to simply walk away from job security and a stable pay cheque – it often takes a sudden change in circumstances to kick-start a move. Before deciding to make the change, individuals should assess their interests, skills and values. Take a look at past volunteer work, successful roles, projects and jobs that involved preferred skills and activities. Is there anything that could translate to a new career path?

It is important to take note of one’s transferrable skills; such skills can prove to be a huge asset when applying for jobs in a completely different sector.  Make a list of any strengths, weaknesses, key skills, interests and goals. 

Some people may find that getting into a different industry makes sense while others may opt for the self-employment route in the industry in which they are most comfortable.

Job seekers should brainstorm ideas for career alternatives by discussing their core skills and values with family, friends and by reaching out to career counsellors, recruiters, and networking contacts.  Online resources, employment agencies, and career libraries are all excellent sources of information and can help put real shape on what are often half-formed ideas.

Appeal to potential employers

Simply put, the curriculum vitae, or CV, is a job seeker’s gateway to the interview.  One of its primary functions is to provide a succinct record of past experiences, training and skills.  Therefore, it is absolutely essential to understand how to prepare a good CV, especially when a career change is in order. 

The key to an effective CV is to make the explanations clear and concise.  Care should be taken to create effective impact statements that highlight achievements and skills while providing enough detail to support the claims being made. Getting this right is a balancing act, but a good recruitment agency can help prepare a CV that teases out exactly the right amount of information.  

Many job seekers forget that the CV is a dynamic document that can be tailored to a specific industry or sector.  In the quest for employment therefore it should be filled with industry-specific words and phrases.  When considering a career change, one should be selective in the information he or she includes on the CV.  Think about what a potential employer will be interested in and highlight these skills and experiences.

Develop new skills and capitalise on the transferable ones

A change in career can be drastic or subtle. This is why developing new skills, or at the very least selling pre-existing skills, is an essential part of making the switch. 

Many industries have vacancies for individuals with transferrable skills, while other sectors have plenty of openings at the entry level. Job seekers with the motivation to seek out new applications for their existing skills or identify areas of possible development have the extra edge.

Meeting with a recruiter is a great way to determine what skills might be needed to gain entrance into a new sector.  A job recruiter will likely be able to suggest additional education, training and other certification classes that one might consider.

Recruiters are also the ideal people to assist in revising the CV to highlight how the experiences in one industry make the job seeker qualified for a position in another.