Many life events can trigger us to think about different career paths. But when you have been established in your career for many years, and have commitments, it can be hard to make the leap straight into a new career. As we are all acutely aware that mortgage doesn’t simply disappear during the job hunt!
Here are some ways to gain experience in steps while still making ends meet.
Volunteer for not for Profits
A great way to build up your experience in steps is to volunteer for not for profit organisations in areas about which you are passionate. They often don’t have the skills in house for a range of requirements so you can show your abilities at strategy, social media management, accounting, website development and so on. The mission of the not for profit can be flexible as long as it’s something you feel passionately enough about to want to put in the work.
Volunteer in your Day Job
Put yourself forward for new projects in your workplace. You can use your budding skills as a graphic designer to volunteer design flyers for the annual work open house or promotions, or your social media skills to drum up support for your hardware stores’ annual hammer sale.
Build a Portfolio
Take the examples of work you have done in your studies, volunteering and paid work and create a portfolio. It’s a good idea to have this both in hard copy and online on a website, so that you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the skills of the role you are looking for; even if you haven’t done a job role with the specific title.
Networking is an ongoing and gradual process. Make outtime to meet with everyone you know even tangentially in your new fields, and discuss both industry trends and what you are both working on. Meeting people before you need them to give you a job, and before they can give you a job, creates a deeper and less transactional relationship, which will pay off in the end.
Look to increase your network by attending industry events and meeting as many people as possible. Many jobs are found through networking rather than through formal job listings. These days more and more people are using social media to find a job.
Refocus your CV
Revise your CV to reflect the skills and experience you have gained in each role (of paid and unpaid work) and not just the job titles you have held. Look at examples of Cvs from the people in the industry you are trying to enter as, for example, creative fields have a very different CV style to the more conservative fields of banking and law.
Look at online job boards like Gumtree ornewspapers like the Guardian, to see if you can locate some possible freelance gigs that you can do alongside your day job. Thislets you build experience and network in your new field (and may even end up leading to a permanent offer.) Freelancing is also a great way to build a savings account to give you a buffer when you finally leave your day job.