In this resource, we bring together advice from geographers who have been able to use their geographical skills and knowledge to jump between careers
It’s never too late to change your job – about 20% of Britons are planning to do so. Motivations for a career change are varied: perhaps you have been made redundant or your circumstances have changed during the pandemic; you may want greater flexibility or a different lifestyle; or maybe you just want a change after years in an industry you entered in your early twenties.
In this resource, we bring together advice from geographers who have been able to use their geographical skills and knowledge to jump between careers.
Prepare yourself with networking, CPD and research.
Build your skills and take your time: It may not be a single jump – rather, you may work your way into a new sector over a few years, in a series of roles that lean more and more in a certain direction. You may take time in your current role to develop the skills and network for your next. Identify the skills you may need and look for CPD provision from your current job or externally that can help develop those skills.
Get involved: volunteer, attend events and conferences, read sector newsletters and begin to build your awareness of and profile in the new sector. Join learned societies and professional bodies that relate to your target area to learn more about the industry and find CPD, networking and job opportunities.
Network: reach out to colleagues-of-colleagues and friends-of-friends for advice, and use LinkedIn, alumni networks and professional associations to contact people in roles similar to the one you would like to attain. You can raise your profile, improve your sector knowledge, and develop professional relationships that can help in finding, understanding and getting new roles.
Retrain: don’t be afraid to retrain if you’ve identified a career you really want. From short-term training courses to a full degree, training options remain much as accessible as they were when you began your career.
Leverage your existing skills:
As an experienced professional, you possess workplace skills and industry-specific knowledge that graduates have not yet developed. You also have examples of how you’ve applied your skills to benefit an employer, and existing professional contacts.
Your existing skillset is NOT irrelevant when trying to enter a new sector. Identify your existing skills, note examples of how you have applied them, and draw attention in applications to where these match new role requirements and competencies.
Transferable skills like written and oral communication, leadership and organisational skills are useful in almost any industry – try to clearly communicate how you have applied these, and why that experience can be relevant to a different context.
Even domain-specific skills and experience will find application in other sectors – cast a wide net. NGOs need administrators; retail businesses need GIS specialists; local councils need hydrologists. You can certify that your professional skills are up-to-date with accredited CPD.
Develop skills that may have been peripheral in your old job. Perhaps you dabbled in GIS at university, social media in a job, or graphic design or a language as a hobby. While it takes time and effort, you could refine such skills online for free (and even find qualifications to accredit such skills).
Understand how to strike the right balance of CPD activities in your career.
Hints and tips for writing reflectively about your professional practice.
CPD is a structured and purposeful way to maintain and improve your knowledge, skills and professional qualities.
LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for job-seeking, even when you are not actively seeking a new job.
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