Navigating the current global landscape, marked by the unprecedented challenges of Brexit and the ongoing impact of Covid-19, presents unique hurdles in the job market. The ongoing changes in the unemployment rate, as reported by Statista1, indicate a 0.5% increase in the U.K. in November 2023, reaching a total of 4.1% compared to the 2022 figures. Despite numerous job opportunities, the job market remains unstable, emphasising the need for a strategic approach to securing employment in these uncertain times.
Right Tools and Strategy
Ensuring that you have the right tools to stand out in the competitive job market is crucial. Before diving into the application process, consider the following:
A Guide: Find a mentor or a career coach who will guide you through this very complicated path.
Industry Clarity: Clearly define the industry you want to pursue.
Role Specification: Identify the specific role you aspire to attain.
Qualifications and Experience: Assess if you possess the necessary qualifications and experience for your target role.
LinkedIn Profile: Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and aligned with your career goals.
CV Currency: Ensure your CV reflects your current skills and experiences.
Going through a career change can be challenging, as I am personally experiencing it after over eight years with the same company. Initially, I did not give much thought to the dynamics of a career transition into a different industry; I naively believed that only updating my CV and randomly applying to various roles would suffice. After receiving zero responses and nailing zero interviews, it became quite clear to me that a more strategic approach was required.
If you find yourself at a crossroads even after understanding your desired industry and role, consider the following steps:
Open Dialogue: Reach out to your career coach/mentor and have an open discussion regarding where you find yourself. Explain how you're feeling, ask for guidance and next steps to take.
LinkedIn Optimisation: Update your LinkedIn profile to align with your new career direction and expand your professional network. Do not underestimate the power of a professional network on LinkedIn; it is where I found my current recruiter and learned about the upskilling I need. If you have the means, my suggestion is to pay for the premium version for more visibility and functions.
Skill Enhancement: Pursue certifications and qualifications that make you an attractive candidate.
The Reality of University Degrees
While degrees are valuable, relying solely on academic credentials may not be enough. I discovered that despite holding a master's degree in project management, practical experience and staying current with methodologies and software were just as important. Although diplomas are a requirement in certain areas, such as medical, teaching, legal and so on, other times, they may not hold much weight unless action is taken right after graduation to land a graduate programme, for example. This is my view based on my own experience. I waited too long, and the market changed, so I ended up having to adapt and catch up. Also, do not underestimate the power of upskilling and further certifications that can turn you into a desirable candidate for the job market.
Further Education and Funding
For individuals currently benefitting themselves from government assistance programmes such as 'Universal Credit and Employment' or 'Support Allowance,' I recommend reaching out to your assigned JobCentre to explore potential financial support options for the specific certification you are after.
To conclude, a career change is a natural part of professional growth. Embrace the opportunity, but do so strategically. Take a moment to reflect, plan your steps diligently and invest in upskilling. By doing so, you'll navigate your career transition with confidence, avoiding common pitfalls and ensuring a smoother journey toward your desired destination. Remember, change may not be easy, but with a clear plan, each step becomes a meaningful stride toward success.