Are you ready for a career change? Great! But are you not so keen on having to convince some companies that you’re serious about your decision, not too old to start again and that even though you lack experience, you still have what it takes to do a great job in this new field? Don’t worry, we’ve been doing our homework on your behalf. Here are the UK’s top eight creative companies that are best for career changers.
Ok, so it’s a big multinational and that’s not always appealing to creatives – after all, who wants to be a cog in a massive wheel? But don’t be so hasty. There are three reasons you may want to consider Unilever if you’re ready for a career change.
- With a wide variety of creative departments ranging from marketing to sustainable communications, Unilever’s size provides plenty of opportunities to move into a different role in a different department if your dream job doesn’t turn out to be as dreamy as you first hoped.
- Unilever has offices worldwide and operates an open policy that lets applicants apply for roles in foreign countries – a score for those looking to make a completely fresh start with their career change.
- Best of all is that Unilever is increasingly using artificial intelligence (AI) to screen job applicants. Wondering why this matters? As a career changer there’s always some concern that interviewers may discriminate based on prejudices computers don’t have (e.g. beliefs that as a career changer you’re too old, too flaky or there on a whim). Unilever uses the AI-based interview service HireVue, which analyzes interviewees’ answers and shortlists them based on their use of keywords, body language, eye contact and tone.
Have you read how Aimi Elias changed careers and went from being a rail engineer to a software developer? That was thanks to the kind of schemes telecommunications and entertainment giant Sky runs for career changers – schemes that give you a chance to work for the company in your new role. Sky’s Get into Tech programme, for example, provides part-time training for women who want to launch a career in tech. And like Aimi, you’ll be eligible to apply for their Software Engineering Academy and actually start earning as you hone your craft.
If you’re more interested in a career in TV or journalism, Sky also offers work experience to graduates of any age in Sky News, Sky Sports or its entertainment channels. Yes, it’s unpaid and unlikely to lead to an actual job, but it’s a quick way of gaining hands-on experience at an international broadcaster that will boost your CV if this is the field you want to go into.
As a start-up created by career changer for career changers, if there’s one company where switching careers is applauded rather than frowned upon it’s Escape the City. The company, which started in London in 2010, now helps people change career or start a business through its online and in-person courses and workshops. And if that wasn’t enough of a service to career changers, it’s also employing them in creative, customer-facing roles like employer happiness officer.
It’s best known for having cool offices – grass carpet, foosball tables, and free breakfasts and smoothies – but Innocent Drinks also has a great reputation for treating employees well, offering the type of work-life balance most people dream of and encouraging creativity. That’s not the only reason Innocent Drinks is on our list. Others include:
- It encourages and nurtures staff members who have entrepreneurial dreams. Did you know the founders of Peppersmith and Bol Foods are all ex-Innocent Drinks employees?
- They’re big on helping you develop new skills and offer employees relevant training courses.
- Innocent Drinks is known for being happy to create flexible working arrangements – great news for career changers with children.
- Some of their senior figures are career changers. For example, ex-lawyer Jane Marsh heads up their people and culture department!
This London-founded digital design agency is the brains behind huge campaigns you’ve undoubtedly heard of, such as Nike’s Run London event and Eurostar’s underwater virtual reality experience Odyssey, which allows passengers to see beyond the walls of the Channel Tunnel. But the chance to work on amazingly creative projects isn’t the only reason AKQA is a great option for career changers looking for more creative work.
- At AKQA, innovation and out-of-the-box thinking are encouraged.
- Creating meaningful careers is their mantra. In contrast to companies that openly care about nothing other than their bottom line, AKQA appears to be big on making sure employees feel the work they’re doing is purposeful.
- They want employees to dream big and value those that do. If you thrive on continuous inspiration, you’ll probably be interested in the company’s internal events in which inspirational speakers share their insights with the team. Virgin’s Holly Branson, designer Paul Smith and SnapChat co-founder Evan Spiegel are just some of the past speakers AKQA has welcomed through its doors.
Monzo is a bank, but it’s a bank with a difference – it’s one with a serious social mission. Rather than getting fat from its customers’ money and giving little to nothing back, Monzo is a community bank that’s completely digital. With its focus on doing things differently, it will come as little surprise that Monzo looks for creative, left-field thinkers when recruiting. Basically, this is one company in which a varied professional history and a career change are not going to looked at as weaknesses you need to explain away.
As a digital operation, Monzo doesn’t hire bank cashiers, instead it has more creative web design and product creation roles on offer.
Global design, engineering and business consultation company Arup has masterminded the creation of landmark buildings like the Sydney Opera House, Beijing National Stadium, Millennium Bridge and the City of Manchester Stadium. If you’re a career changer, Arup could be worth exploring because not only can you get your creative juices flowing there, employees also report that the company provides lots of opportunities for training in new skills, shadowing of other members of staff and even working on projects that fall outside your job description. This means that if you don’t want to go back to the bottom when you make your career change, Arup is the kind of company that could help you leapfrog – by that we mean that you can join it in the profession you currently work in and then gain the experience and skills needed for you to swiftly change to the career you truly want to be in.
This one is a bit of a wildcard, but worth mentioning for career changers (aged 25+) who would like to spend some time travelling while working in a more senior role (essentially enjoying a career break that can be proudly listed on your CV). We call it a wildcard because while Raleigh International offers volunteer manager/team leader roles for overseas expeditions, these are unpaid. However, don’t just think of it as an elaborate way to go travelling, it also provides a legitimate foot in the door for career changers who are interested in working for charities or building a career in international development or conservation.
Did we miss any gems? Let us know in the comments below.
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