How to Effectively Change Career Paths

June 12th, 2014

Toronto Executive Search & Technology Recruiter Gary Hinde
By Gary Hinde, Toronto Technology Recruiter

As a recruiter, I get this question all the time.  I head up the IT group, so for example I’ll often be approached by a Java Developer who would like to become an Oracle DBA.  No matter what industry you’re in, the question for candidates remains the same … what’s the best way to go about changing the direction of my career?

how to effectively change careers

Here are my five key suggestions.

1. Leverage Your Transferable Skills

My advice is find where you have transferable skills and leverage them.  For my Java developer example, I would ask, “Have you worked in an Oracle environment before?  Have you worked with a DBA on your team?  Where have you dipped your toe into that role that you can use as a springboard or bridge into a career change?”

2. Tailor Your Resume

For someone with senior level skills – say 7 to 10 years’ experience – tailoring your resume to the job that you are looking to move forward into is crucial.  Let’s assume for instance, that you are that Java Developer, but that you have skills both as an Oracle DBA and a Project Manager.  If you’re going for a Project Manager role and you’re bringing a resume that highlights only your Java Development skills, you’re doing yourself a big disservice.

Without fabricating the truth, highlight all the skills that you have based on the new role that you’re going for.  Also, ensure that you include the key search words in your resume.  If you’re not working with a recruiter and your resume goes through screening software, and if the keywords related to your desired new job don’t show up, you’ll go straight to the reject pile.

3. Acquire New Skills Through Training or Volunteer Work

If you have an existing job, look for on-the-job training opportunities.  So for instance, if you’re a Java Developer working in a large IT development and there are courses available to you or even informative Lunch ‘n Learn sessions with your team members, definitely take advantage of anything like that.

If you don’t have a job and you’re looking to get into an industry, seek out what training is available and sign up for courses.  Volunteering is also a good way to get on-the-job training.  By acquiring the skills you need, you’ll increase your chances of getting hired into your new desired role.

4. Network within the Industry

If there is an Oracle DBA user group or a meeting every month, start showing up.  If you’re networking in and around those circles, and people get to know you, you’re more likely to have leads and opportunities passed along to you.  It’s also a proven fact that if people like you, they’re more likely to give you a break and recommend you for a position.

5. Make Sure You Know What You’re Getting Into

When you’re looking to change careers, the grass always looks greener on the other side.  Make sure that you have all your facts straight from the start.  Ensure that there is a market for you in your industry of your choice and that you know exactly what’s involved with the job or as closely as possible.  Don’t just jump into anything that looks like the next big thing without getting some facts.

Also, evaluate the job against your personality – and ask yourself if this new role will deliver the job satisfaction you’re looking for or if it’s just a quick fix?

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For other ideas that will help you evaluate your career options, check out our Tips From a Headhunter For Job Seekers section.  Learn more about Gary Hinde and connect with him on LinkedIn.

IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, & Halifax. We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. We have teams of specialist recruiters in Financial Services & Insurance, Marketing Communications & Media, Emerging Tech & Telecom, Consumer Goods & Retail, B2B & Industrial, Technology, Accounting & Finance, HR & Operations, Energy, Mining & Engineering, Life Sciences, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Gary Hinde

Gary is a Partner and Practice Lead of one of Toronto's most respected team of IT recruiters. He has a strong background in building and managing teams, and specializes in contract and permanent placements within the IT space. With over 15 years of IT Sales and Recruitment experience, Gary is committed to customer service and has a genuine love for working with people and solving business problems.