It’s time for a career change!

Nowadays more and more people want to take their future into their own hands and change careers because of a more enjoyable profession, greater respect, more stability, higher salary or better working conditions. I personally really appreciate people who have the courage to change their careers, learn a new profession from the very beginning, whether they are young or old.

However, it’s crucial to change careers consciously. Before you jump head in, it is important to know what a career change entails, how recruiters and hiring managers perceive career changers, and what are the steps for a successful career change.

In this article, we will give you some tips if you are thinking about changing careers.

1. Changing careers comes with sacrifices and it’s hard work.

Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this, and they hope that they will be hired for a desired position without possessing the relevant and required knowledge.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, because with luck, maybe with a friend’s recommendation it might even work, or if you change within your current company internally - but it doesn’t happen so frequently.

If you want it to be successful in your career change, you will have to invest time, energy and money into retraining, You will have to devote time to studying instead of resting after a hard eight-hour workday, so instead of streaming movies on Netflix, you’ll more likely be streaming online courses.

Sometimes career changers can earn more with a new profession right from the start compared to their previous job, but as I see it, this is not the most common case.

For example: If you worked as high-school teacher in Hungary and you took a full-stack developer course and you start to work for a multinational company as a junior developer, you might earn more in the junior developer role than as an experienced teacher.

But of course, if you’ve worked as a marketing director at a multinational company, and let’s say you are burned out and want to change careers, a junior developer salary will be much less than your previous marketing manager salary. But you might be willing to make this move because, you know that you will experience less stress, less pressure as junior developer, your salary will increase in the following years continuously and after some years you can earn a similar salary as your previous marketing manager role.

2. Indicate in your CV that you want to change your career!

I meet candidates every day who apply to us for various positions without relevant experience and most of them don’t indicate in their CV or cover letter that they are willing to change their careers, so I, as a recruiter, can believe that they have applied accidentally for the given role because they didn’t read the job ad accurately.

My advice for you: Add 2 sentences at the beginning of your CV with your motivation, describe why you want to apply for the desired role and what steps you’ve taken so far to meet the stated expectations. (Please note, that it’s not a great motivator for career change that your partner works in the same role, and you heard a lot of his meetings at home, so you feel you are already well-qualified for the role - a real example)

You can also briefly explain your motivation in a cover letter but to be honest busy recruiters rarely have time to read it, therefore I recommend you focus on your CV.

3. Find your new profession!

Easy to say, right? Ask yourself the following questions which can help you to decide which new profession would be suitable for you:

  • Why do I want to change careers? Why am I dissatisfied with my current role/workplace?
  • What are my strengths? What are my areas of development?
  • Do I want to work for a bigger or a smaller company?
  • Do I want to have a stable role at a company or work as a freelancer?
  • Do I prefer administrative tasks, working from the “background” (in the back office), or do I like the constant contact with people?
  • What languages skills do I have? Am I ready to use them daily at a multinational company?
  • Do I already have the skills for the desired role? If not, how could I find out which skills are required for the given role? How could I gain that knowledge?
  • Do any of my friends work in the position I would like to work in? (If yes, talk to them!)
  • Do I know anybody in the desired role who could help me to answer my questions?
  • What would I work if money didn’t matter? What did I want to be as a child? In the current situation, can I do anything about this childhood desire? How could it help me now?  
  • How much money do I need for living? What are my financial goals for the future?
  • How much do I want to work from home?…etc.

4. Research the market before you start training in a particular field!

On LinkedIn luckily you can search for people who work in your desired role and check their career paths. What qualifications, language and technical skills do they have? How did they start their career?  How did they reach the role you want to work in?

You can also contact your friends or current/ex-colleagues who are working in the same field and collect as much information as you can about the tasks, working conditions, challenges, required skills, working hours, home office possibility, salary, company and colleagues…etc.

As I finished university as a translator-interpreter, I wanted to become a recruiter, but I didn’t have any idea how to do it without going back to the university and study HR. In that time, I worked for a multinational company as a trainee, and I’ve asked one of my recruiter colleagues to have a quick chat with me. I’m still grateful to her for that chat because she explained to me the traditional and untraditional career path of a recruiter and the required experiences and skills needed for this role. In addition to this, later as I had interviews for different roles with experienced recruiters, I remembered the name of the recruiters who I talked to and used LinkedIn to check their career path. This market research helped me a lot in reaching my goal in becoming a recruiter.

If you are feeling lost, or if you feel you don’t have enough patience and time for doing this market research, ask for help of a career counsellor who may have a better insight into the labour market than you.

Unfortunately, in my experience lots of candidates grope in the dark, when it comes to changing careers. They take all kinds of courses that they think will be suitable for the desired profession and spend a lot of money on them. Then in the end it turns out that desired position required completely different knowledge than they thought, since they didn’t know enough about the market.

Don’t believe anyone who says you can’t do it!

HR Managers, HR Team Leaders told me at the beginning of my career that I could never become a recruiter with a translator certificate, without a diploma in HR. I remember an interview at a production company that left me crying. But I didn’t believe any of these negative leaders, and kept searching for other companies, who were ready to hire career-starters for recruiter roles. I also continued to make sacrifices for my goal and learnt a lot on the way. So, it’s crucial to find people, who believe in you and who are ready to help you in your career.

In the end, it turned out that the hard work was worth it, because today I can work in a position that I love, that motivates me, and proved me with a secure livelihood at ALDI.

We spend most of our lives at work, so why not allow ourselves to love what we do?

Created by: Beáta Kovács