Career Change

As I write this, many organisations are currently facing pressure to cut costs; downsizing employee numbers, increasing workloads, doing more with less. People within those organisations, especially a Public sector organisation I am working currently on a set of Career Review programme for staff, are recognising that things are changing, jobs aren’t secure  any longer, and individuals need to actively manage their future career.

Career survey feedback 

In a recent international career survey surveying over 1,000 professionals from 33 countries, there were some interesting results:

  • Most employees understand that they, not their employers, need to control their careers. 57% of respondents overall don’t expect their employer to provide a clear career path, and that sentiment increases with age.
  • Immediate career plans are up in the air. Less than half of respondents indicated that they know what they want their next job to be, and only 23% know what their employer wants their next job to be
  • Opportunities with current employers aren’t promising, as only one in two respondents believe they have decent career opportunities with their current employer. Over a third expect their next career move will take them elsewhere.
  • Most employees want “work” that works for them. As in previous studies, interesting work, meaningful work, and work/life balance were identified as the most important criteria for future jobs.
  • Personal growth is important, too. Four in five respondents overall agreed or strongly agreed that they don’t think there is anything wrong with staying in the same job if they can try new things or develop their skills.

 So, why career plan?

The career landscape in today’s world is rocky terrain for  even the most well intentioned, bright and dynamic individuals.

Reviewing your career to date is important for the reflection it brings, and the onus to career plan is much more on individuals than Employers, as seen in what the latest surveys.

Even if its not set out in concrete, and built flexibly, its worth spending time to generate some ideas on future direction of travel.

My approach to working with individuals who want 1-1 coaching through career change is to:

  • Pull some of the strands out from their career to date, asking them to write a narrative of their career to date, or using things like the “Timeline” approach to map the highs and lows of their career
  • Pulling together the transferable skills from this work, and seeing how they could apply within the same sector or cross sector
  • Creating an “ideal job description” that coordinates an outline of the key elements they are looking for in a job; e.g team work, project management, leadership, along with the practical aspects of salary required and geographical radius
  • Distilling all these ideas down into a few key options, some of which are “consolidation based” and others of which are more adventurous, with the required research they need to complete to find out more
  • Finally, creating a Job Search Plan setting out sorting out their CV, looking at aspects of networking

The practicals of a good CV

We all know the theory of a good CV, but  its worth remembering:

  •  Don’t have a single CV, as you need to have a base CV that can be tailored to each job application
  • Consider having a “chronological CV with work experience history and achievements, but also a “skills based” CV that stacks you up against key competencies of the job you are applying for
  •  Its a sales document, but beware overhyping!
  •  Typical length should be around 2-3 pages
  •  Make it look good; remember, people shortlisting often read through 100 +

The practicals of a good interview

 Before the interview  

  • Be prepared, (know the job specification and interview process inside out)
  • Review and know your CV
  • Do some research on the organisation
  • Do some research on the role and responsibilities
  • Have some questions prepared, and sample responses to the questions you are likely to be asked

On the day 

  • Dress smartly/appropriately and arrive on time
  • Be polite to all staff you meet – you never know, they could well influence the recruitment process
  • Be yourself
  • Listen to the questions and pause to think about your response – don’t ramble. Usually 3-4 key points and examples in response to a question works
  • Maintain eye contact
  • If you do not know an answer, say so

For a “top tips” guide to interviews, click here