Five tips to make career change as painless as possible

Most people change careers several times in their lives, a trend that looks set to endure. However it can feel like there are many roadblocks to making the big switch, writes HEATHER HAMILTON, CAREER COACH, SLI NUA CAREERS.

Transitioning can be difficult and it is important not to let job dissatisfaction continue for too long. Working out a solution is the first step.

Here are five practical tips to make that transition eaiser:

Know your values

Time spent in the workplace can seem like a prison sentence when you’re unhappy in your current role or thinking about changing career. Your self-worth may also be flat-lining, so it’s important not to let this situation continue for too long. Knowing which careers best fit your values will help you get where you want to go. By values, I mean things like how you like to work (alone or in a team, or mixture of both ); the level of variety you enjoy (same-same every day, or a dizzying number of wide and varied tasks ); the amount of time you want to spend working (tear out the door a minute before 5pm, or chained to your desk until 8.30pm ); and so on. Once you know these, you have a better chance of making an informed choice that will lead to career happiness. What are your values? Google this topic and start writing down your values. It’s the key starting point.

Know your worth

Know what your value is in the market and don’t settle for less than you deserve, unless you do so as part of a game-plan that ties in with No. 4 below. Compare various job descriptions with your role and emphasise these in your CV.

Look into training that you can talk about at interview if you are considering moving into a new area.

Arm yourself with a winning CV

Changes to your CV, LinkedIn profile or letter of application can often win you the attention of potential employers. Consulting a qualified career coach can also help you gain perspective and a greater understanding of your options – equip yourself with a CV that will help you stand out from the crowd and bring your real skills and attributes to the fore. This is particularly important if you are changing sectors – very often, we find it difficult to identify our transferrable skills and someone else looking in from the outside may do a better job of spotting them for you.

It’s easier to get a job if you already have one

This is one of the oldest clichés in the book, granted; but it is no less relevant for that. Having a job places you at an advantage at interview. It’s a lot easier to explain why you want a better job than why you are not currently working. So, without unduly contravening the spirit of No. 2 above, perhaps you need to take a ‘lower down the ladder’ job to get into the new sector.

Focus on the positive

Why you want to leave your current employer is a frequent interview question. Badmouthing your employer won’t buy you brownie points, but focusing on your professional achievements in your current role, and how you see this position as offering a fresh opportunity for career growth, certainly will. The past is the past: it cannot be changed. Your enthusiasm for what comes next is critical.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Galway (Patricia Maloney, 091 528883 ), Mayo (Ballinrobe, Claremorris and Westport ), Dublin, Limerick, Sligo and Athlone. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/galway

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