M2 July&Aug 2012 Changing career at half time .pdf
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Changing Career at
With global economic uncertainty affecting many of
our sectors including finance, retail, construction and
manufacturing, the majority of redundancies are being made
at the senior executive and mid-management level.
Having been through this myself, I can talk
with some experience. After 12 years at a
very well-known, blue chip company and
approaching 40, I decided to jump without
a parachute! This was to be the best
decision I ever made or possibly one of the
worst… The easier thing to do would have
been to stay, where I had worked my way
to a senior level and seen much success.
Taking the skills I had gained in one industry
and transferring them to another was a
challenge that excited me and the driving
force behind my decision.
When I made the decision to jump, I was
excited… I was nervous… And I have to
be honest, there were times while I was
job hunting when I questioned myself. One
of the things that held me in good stead
was my disciplined approach. I tackled job
hunting the same way I had my sporting and
business career by setting myself goals and
developing a plan. Fortunately, my decision
turned out to be the best I have ever made
and I’m now in an exciting industry, in a
great role and with a fantastic company.
Executives with a strong history of
delivering results will always find a role
provided they are well organised and
can demonstrate their capabilities clearly.
Networking is critical, although many
executives may struggle to find the time
or the desire to do this. Building networks
outside your industry may take a little
longer, one of the lessons I have learnt is
that it’s better to do this before you try to
make a change. Simply put, build your
Look to your friends and colleagues to
ascertain potential contacts that can help.
By securing personal introductions to
recruiters and to their clients at the hiring
company, you can get in front of the queue.
If you gain an introduction to the company,
the recruiter will be more open and willing
to assist you.
As well as contacts, information is power
and research is vital. Once you identify
a job you want, get all the necessary
information on the role and who it reports
to, and explore the organisation and their
current trading position. This information
can help you build your resume to reflect
your story, explain your relevance to the
job and help the recruiter see past your
experience and put yourself forward.
Make it easy for the recruiter to consider
you and difficult not to… Even if you are a
The main turn-off for a senior executive
in applying for a new job, particularly in
a new sector, is a lack of or a delayed
response from the recruiters. Senior
executives begin their search full of energy
and enthusiasm based upon their power
and influence in their past roles, where
people respond quickly to their requests.
This is may not be the case when seeking
a job through a recruitment process or
indeed via networking. Be careful not to
get turned off if the process does not run
the way you want it to, or at the speed you
Interview skills are critical and often
missing amongst people who have not
interviewed for some time. Be mindful
that you’re now the interviewee and not
the interviewer; most executives have
their own style and the process may not
be conducted in the way you’re used to
from the other side of the desk. Once you
are successful in getting to the interview
stage, make sure you are thoroughly
briefed on the process so you know what
to expect and how to prepare.
Most importantly, don’t get pressured
into applying for the wrong positions.
Well prepared executives who know their
strengths, capabilities and what they
want to do next rarely apply for the wrong
position. Extended gaps in employment
can be stressful, especially when faced
alone, and this can lead to applying for
an unsuitable role. Make sure the job,
particularly in a new sector, is suitable for
you and you for it.
Winning a halftime career change
1. Know what you want to do
2. Know your skills and capabilities
and how they are transferable
3. Research the position and
4. Build a strong network… Now!
5. Be disciplined, set goals and
have a plan
Jeff Doyle, Adecco Group CEO, Australia & New Zealand
Jeff left home at 15 to play professional football in the UK with
Coventry City and Peterborough United and was a Republic
of Ireland schoolboy and youth international. He then came to
Australia to play in the National Soccer League before changing his career at 27 to move into the business sector.
oing up against hundreds
of candidates with similar
experience for the jobs
that are left in your sector
is no fun but what is the
alternative? If you decide
to get out and into one of the booming
sectors how can your experience and
accomplishments be recognised in a
different industry? How to make that halftime change?