So, you love the company you work for, the people are amazing and the culture is a perfect fit. The only problem is your actual job. You hate it and you’d much rather be doing something else. But you don’t want to leave your dream company… if only there was a way to have your cake and eat it too? There is, says career coach and founder of coaching practice CareerTree Sarah Archer. You’re better placed than most where making your career change a reality is concerned, and that’s because you are already an asset to your dream company. Here’s how you can capitalise on that and use your current position to change careers without changing companies.
Find some champions
Be honest with your current boss and/or HR and tell them about the career field you’re interested in moving to. Ask for help to make it a reality. Companies would rather retain good staff if they can – it’s expensive to recruit, induct and train new people. Make a business-focused argument in favour of a move. It will be much easier for management to support your transition to a new department if there are good business, rather than personal, reasons for the change. Your boss will also be able to give you advise you on how realistic making a move is and he or she can advocate on your behalf to make it happen.
But don’t focus solely on getting the OK from your boss and managers, take the time to talk to people who are already doing the job you want to do and their bosses. Find out what skills you’ll need to demonstrate to do that job, then identify what you need to learn and where you’d need to excel.
Work out the gaps
Assess how much you need to learn before you can make the career change and then build a plan to fill in any skill or experience gaps you have. If there are any compulsory qualifications required for the role, don’t assume you’ll have to divide your time between work and university. There are lots of online courses in many subject areas nowadays, and you can do these in your spare time.
It’s easy to get caught up with what you don’t know, but don’t forget you already have a lot of transferable skills and experience that will be useful in a new role.
If your current role has no overlap with the new career field you’re eager to move to, it’s important that you embrace all opportunities to gain on-the-job experience in the new role. Volunteer to take on extra projects within the team you want to move to. Yes, this will most likely involve working harder or longer in the short term, but remember that doing so will provide a chance for your new team to see what you can offer.
Don’t forget to regularly check out the company jobs board and stay open to possibilities. A sideways move into a new team is often the first step if you want to change careers without changing companies.
Build your Reputation
It may take a while to make your career change happen – depending on the availability of internal vacancies – so in the meantime, turn your attention to managing your reputation. Make it your mission to become known as someone who is engaged, enthusiastic, highly capable and a positive presence in any team.
Also start networking more and be sure to identify the people in the organisation you need to impress – these are the key decision makers who will help you reach your destination. It’s this kind of strategic networking that can lead to mentoring opportunities and position you well for the future. Never forget that jobs can be created for someone that has potential and that few organisations want to lose bright and capable employees.
Check if you can fast track
Research if your current company offers sabbaticals as this could be a way to speed up your career change. A three- or six-month sabbatical could provide a perfect opportunity to retrain, upskill, volunteer and get the experience you need for the new career. When you return from your break you will be in a great position to move teams as soon as an opportunity is there.
Be strategic. Remember your current value and steer your career deliberately, but remain patient as this will ultimately be rewarding to both you and your dream company.
Are you interested in changing careers within your company? Share your experience with us in the comments below.
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