Changing career can be difficult, particularly if you keep coming up against employers who only consider people with years of experience. However, it’s not impossible.
Identifying what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing is a good start. You can also consider your values and use these to guide you to a new career. Thinking about what you’d love to do if money was no object can help you think creatively about what might be possible.
Identify your skills
While these are all useful ways of working out where to go next in your career, another way of doing this is by looking at your transferable skills. These are skills that you can use in any job. To do this, look at the jobs you have done in the past. Break down the tasks you did and look at what skills were needed to be able to do them well.
Think back to times when you were given feedback at work. Were there any areas of your work that your boss or your colleagues thought you were particularly good at?
Then look at other areas of your life, such as your family life, interests or hobbies, voluntary work or any other activity you have done. What skills did you gain?
If you’re finding it hard to identify your transferable skills, ask a friend or colleague what they think you’re good at. Sometimes other people can see things in us that we can’t see in ourselves.
Demonstrate your skills to employers
Once you have identified your skills, think about which ones are transferable and how you can demonstrate these to potential employers.
Some skills are useful in any job. These include:
Interpersonal skills – Do you have self-awareness and emotional intelligence, and are you able to build relationships with people?
Coaching skills – Can you get the best out of people? Do you encourage them and help them develop rather than telling them what to do?
Written and verbal communication skills – Can you get your ideas across clearly and adapt your communication style to different audiences?
Personal development – Can you demonstrate that you are a lifelong learner and that you are keen to expand your skills? Have you studied for a qualification while holding down a full-time job or raising a family?
Dealing with change – How do you adapt when going through a period of change? How can you demonstrate your resilience and your ability to juggle tasks? Perhaps you were home schooling while trying to hold down a job throughout the pandemic.
There are lots more transferable skills and you’ll be able to identify them when you start looking for jobs and see what kind of skills employers are looking for.
If this whole exercise feels like too big a task, remember you’re not starting all over again. You’ve already gained lots of skills from previous jobs and from other areas of your life which you can use to demonstrate your ability to do a different job. Don’t let lack of experience be a barrier to your chosen career.
If you’d like help identifying your skills to help you to move on to another job or to get back into the workplace after a break, get in touch.
This article was written by Aileen Carson, professional coach. Aileen helps women gain clarity on the next steps of their career, reduce stress and avoid burnout. You can get in touch with Aileen at firstname.lastname@example.org.