Careers don’t go in straight lines - they zig zag.
Making a career change is a big step. Whether your circumstances have changed, you’re looking for better opportunities or you just want a new challenge, here is what to do to change careers.
1. Choose 1-2 industries
Have a look at 1-2 industries that appeal to you and commit to finding a job there. How do you find the industry you’re after?
Check out trade shows and job expos
Make sure to gather info and ask questions, it may be overwhelming but companies want to help you out. Check out Reinvent Your Career and the Careers Employment Expo to get started.
Google is your friend
Search for industry blogs, newsletters and other resources to get your head around what people do/what kinds of jobs are in those industries.
Talk to people
Ask others what they think of their job and industry in general. Ask about the pros and cons to make an informed choice.
Whittle it down
Choose 1-2 industries that peak your interest, and commit to finding work there!
Found an industry you might like? Great! Now it’s time to think about what skills or training you will need to get there. Need a special licence? Want to boost your typing skills? Need an industry-specific Certificate (e.g. childcare, aged care etc)? Training organisations can help you here. Ask your local MAX office what they can offer you if you’re not sure!
3. Build your network
Start networking. It’s not as scary as it sounds, trust us! People like to offer advice, so if you’re proactive and put the word out that you’re looking to change industries, people will want to offer advice and help you out. Use it! Building a LinkedIn profile can really help here, just make sure it looks the same as your resume. Which brings us to…
4. Redo your resume
Perhaps the most time-consuming and mentally draining bit, but it’s will be the biggest thing that will help you jump industries. The golden rule is to tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for. Here’s what to do when re-writing a resume for a new industry:
Start off with your skills that are relevant to the industry
For example, your skills in written/verbal communication, numeracy, leadership, customer/client service, initiative, planning, computer literacy, manual labour skills, health and safety knowledge etc. These are called your transferrable skills.
Highlight your work experience (including volunteer/work experience!)
It might be in a different industry, but you can pull out skills and achievements that are relevant to your new industry. Moving from manual labour to retail? Highlight your experience with problem solving, teamwork, health and safety, quality monitoring and evaluation, ability to work independently, meeting client/customer expectations and managing/prioritising tasks. Admin to education? Highlight your experience with customer relations, teamwork, picking up new/changing systems, planning, budgeting and finance.
Show the training and qualifications you have
Highlighting relevant training shows your potential new employer you’re dedicated to making this change. Specify the course name, date you received it and the organisation you trained with.
5. Be patient
It’s true, changing industries is trickier than just changing jobs. But you can do it! Major changes can take a while, and you may need to start in a junior role when you start a new industry. But if you’re patient and stick with it, you’ll work your way up and have a whole new set of skills you can use!