It’s not unusual for the clients I eventually work with to have started their plans for career change after waking up one morning and realising they’d rather do something else than their current job.

In today’s article I explore what to do next if you want to learn how to better leverage and transform your skills to make a successful career change.

When we talk about career change, deciding if you wish to talk to a Career Coach to help you better identify and then leverage your transferrable skills is an invaluable way to help you find suitable new roles in either a related or new industry. In some cases, it may be that you’re contemplating a complete change in direction, and I’ll explore that here too.

Neither of these decisions should be taken lightly, and after some initial discussions with new clients, I am quickly able to discern if they are to embark on a journey of leveraging their previous experience and skills or instead choosing the much harder (and potentially also extremely rewarding) journey of transformation by making a more radical career change into an industry that requires new skills.

How to Leverage Your Transferrable Skills to make a Successful Career Change

Let’s take a look at the easier path first. In the case of leveraging your transferrable skills, there’s going to be some change involved. These changes will involve how you view your skill set and how you present, position and pitch yourself to recruiters and hiring managers. If the word ‘pitch’ scares you, you are not alone! And that’s why I am here.

When I review a client’s skills, especially their transferrable skills, I explore how we may leverage them to ensure success with securing their next role. It’s this fresh set of eyes by a Career Practitioner, who’s helped many professionals successfully secure roles across many industries in Melbourne, that my clients value the most. I am not emotionally attached to your experience and skills, and so I can objectively assess and define your most valuable transferrable skills that are desired by the employment market right now.

Let’s use the example of a Printer who’s worked in production, management and client relationship management. If we just looked at his client management skills, we can draw these out further to consider what skills he has for account management roles. We may also like to consider his suitability for operations roles in other industries, as well as business development in printing. If we were to consider him in sales roles for the printing industry, then we would call on his printing knowledge.

If you’ve worked in marketing, you may be familiar with the BCG matrix. It’s known by a few names, including the growth-share matrix, the product portfolio matrix, the BCG-matrix, Boston matrix, Boston Consulting Group analysis and portfolio diagram. It’s a chart that was created by Bruce D. Henderson for the Boston Consulting Group in 1970 to help corporations analyse their product lines. The idea is that you review your product lines across a variety of criteria and consider their suitability in the current market, related markets or consider how they would be received in completely different markets.

In this way it’s traditionally been used as an analytical tool in brand marketing, product management, strategic management, and portfolio analysis.

So let’s imagine we’re considering your product attributes (your skills) and considering your suitability for the current industry you work in, related industries and potentially also brand new and unrelated. In the case where we are looking at using your current skills, we would be working out how to leverage them, as is the case of the example I used for the printer.

As with the BCG Matrix we are looking for star roles in that there is demand for the role and there is growth in this industry.

The Role of Transformation in Career Change and Job Search

In the case of transformation we would be moving well beyond the industry you operate in now. For a product in the BCG matrix, this may mean considering new product development. For you, this may mean the development of new skills if you’re considering a career move into a completely different industry. Yes, this may mean the need to up-skill and return to school!

I encourage clients who are considering a transformation like this to think hard about whether they are up for the potential compromises and sacrifices they may need to make to achieve a successful transformation.

You will need to consider questions such as:
• Do I need to go back to school?
• Do I need to be prepared to take on roles with a lower salary?
• Do I need to look at volunteering and exploring the options before I decide to make this change?
• Do I have to start all over again?

My parents read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to me when I was a child. Do you know it? Perhaps you’ve read it to your own children, nieces or nephews.

When the caterpillar starts to form, it’s what’s in that formation that is critical. That formation is very much the sacrifice I speak of in deciding to go back to school. I’m seeing many people return to studies to complete their qualifications in Aged Care (a rapidly growing industry with many potential employment opportunities). It’s a short term sacrifice that is about re-building and starting again. In some cases it also means considering more junior positions.

The transformation process requires that you make some compromises and changes in your lifestyle. You will not be able to order Uber or go on as many holidays, and many people find themselves having to work full time and study part time. You may even need to get some assistance from Centrelink.

Transformation is about becoming the butterfly. You will eventually reap the rewards of your decision to make this career change, and they may not just be financial ones. There is a growing body of research indicating that feeling like you are making a difference in your work can contribute very positively to your mental health. Perhaps the anti-depressant you need to be prescribed is not a pill in a bottle but a change in your work environment.

Pursuing more meaningful work is something that can make a big difference to your sense of fulfilment and I’d love to be your guide.

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