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New Year, New Career?

The New Year has just begun and for many January is not only a time for celebration but a time for reflection. It is a time for us to look back on ourselves, to see our highlights and lowlights, successes and failures, and obtain an insight into where we would like to see ourselves in 2016.

At the beginning of each and every New Year there arises the opportunity for change. Individuals are able to set their goals and aspirations for the coming months. In essence, it is a fresh start or, so to say, a clean slate.

Read more, exercise more, save more, lose weight, quit smoking… the prospects for change are open ended in which we may improve ourselves.

For many individuals, they have one particular aspiration in common. That is to move forward and transition to a new career.

Whether it be finally following that dream that up to now had never been followed, trying something new on for size or simply taking a leap of faith many people look at the New Year as the time to act.

But, just like reading more, exercising more, saving more… this New Year resolution is easier said than done.

So how do you start a new career when you are coming from a completely different background? How do you compare to other individuals in a job interview when they have first hand experience?

There are three main elements.

The more obvious of these elements is education. Education can prove the essential knowledge and skills that is able to transform a hobby or interest into concrete ability of a specialist role.

Education can also provide a number of ancillary skills that can illustrate and emphasise ability to an interviewer such as management skills, communication, problem solving and the like.

Formal education such as the attendance part time or full time to Tafe or university is a significant advantage in transitioning careers especially within sectors where formal accreditation is not only appreciated but a compulsory element.

Additionally informal education such as self-education through textbooks and the like may provide useful knowledge to distinguish.

A less obvious element of trying to move into a new career field is the linking of skills. Many skills are transferable between careers and industries.

Whilst two roles on paper may not appear in the slightest linked in reality the fundamental skills required to perform them may be quite the same.

An engineer deals with lateral thinking. So too does a marketer.

A doctor deals with high-pressure situations. So too does an operations manager.

A defence personnel member deals with problem solving. So too does an analyst.

An impressive final element that may assist the progression to a different career field is the value that personal business connections can provide.

Personal connections can open doors to new opportunities that do not normally present via traditional job search methods. Second, personal connections will have a more holistic understanding of your skills and capabilities and are therefore well placed to endorse or recommend you. In a business environment such an endorsement has a significant influence in the evaluation of a candidate.

A New Year, a new you. New Years resolutions are tough to keep but intimate aims that we feel of utmost importance to ourselves.

Although attempting to transfer to a new career without any first hand experience may be justifiably tough it is well worth it. A consideration of the benefits of education, skill transferability and personal connections may just make it that much easier.

What do you think are the most important elements to consider when moving to a new career?


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