How to manage a career change: 5 steps for a fresh start

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Changing careers can be a challenge when you don’t have relevant experience in a new field. But it’s not impossible. Here are some steps you can take to make the transition.

1. Identify transferable skills

Research job descriptions for the sort of roles you’d like and highlight the skills you already have. Transferable skills include organisational abilities, use of office programs, communication skills and attention to detail. You need to be able to demonstrate these skills with examples.

2. Do voluntary or temporary work

Such work adds valuable experience to a CV. You need to have a clear idea of your transferable skills to sell yourself into these posts, but you don’t necessarily need in-depth knowledge of the subject in order to land a job. If you’ve completed a course, it will give you a distinct advantage over others when looking for voluntary work.

3. Get networking

Contacts open doors. Attend networking events and careers fairs in your area. Research the companies you want to work for and reach out to HR managers, team leaders and PAs of managers and company directors, who could help you get a foot in the door. Also stay alert at personal events – those you meet might have the perfect job opportunity.

4. Take a course

While you can learn a lot on the job, becoming qualified in a new skill set will help you leap a few rungs up the ladder and improve your prospects. It also gives you another chance to make contacts, offering you another way into your dream job.

5. Don’t give up

You may get some knock-backs, but persevere. Researching your industry, improving your skills and making contacts are valuable investments in your future and will make you a more desirable candidate.

Case study: from wedding assistant to accounts manager

Andy Murray worked as a weddings assistant for five years before he made the move into accounting. He started studying AAT Accounting Qualifications in 2012 and, by 2013, was working as a junior accountant. He had three promotions in two years, and now manages a team of three, aged just 22. Andy’s progression has been fuelled by his enthusiasm for accounting. He studied through distance learning, and was incredibly self-driven. “Where my accounting career is concerned, the sky is the limit,” he says. “When I complete my AAT pathway, I plan to keep studying and eventually want to become a chartered management accountant.”

Insights provided by Anita Skurr, Home Learning College.

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AAT Comment offers news and opinion on the world of business and finance from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

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