Late last year, having worked in the recruitment industry for seven years, I realised that I was ready for a change. As much as I love recruitment and helping others, I felt that I needed to be doing something different to reenergise me. As I set about exploring my options, it quickly dawned on me that although I had been guiding candidates through their career planning, I didn’t have a career plan for myself.
Fast forward six months and I am still working as a recruitment consultant at Six Degrees but I am now working in a completely new industry – and I absolutely love it! Making this career change internally has allowed me to build on what I know and enjoy, whilst expanding my horizons in a totally new area. I am challenged and inspired every day and I am working in an area that aligns well with my values and personal beliefs, recruiting in the not-for-profit, health and education sectors.
So how did I go about making this career change and what did I learn along the way? Here are my recommendations for how to make a seamless internal career move.
Step 1 – Consider all your options
One of the first things I realised as I set out to write my career plan is that making a career change can come in many different forms – i.e. you don’t have to leave the organisation you are working for to make a positive move. Change can come in many ways from a new job title, to developing a new skill set, to undertaking further study, so make sure you consider all your options.
When considering alternatives, I looked at the pros and cons of three main options.
Option 1 - Change profession. Not an option, really. I love what I do, I love spending time with people, and I love feeling like I’ve made a difference to someone’s day.
Option 2 - Change organisation. An even bigger no. I love working at Six Degrees and the people I work with challenge and support me in equal measures.
Option 3 - Change lanes. This would involve moving into a new sector with a new client and candidate base. It would also mean embarking on a lot of learning. By far this was the most appealing option (and the one that I chose).
Step 2 – Ask yourself the right questions
Some of the key questions to address when considering a career change might include:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you love about your job?
- What don’t you like about your job?
- What are your strengths?
- What are some of the areas for self-improvement?
- What are your goals over the next two to five years?
- What new skills will you need to reach your goals?
At Six Degrees we are encouraged to consider our own corporate responsibility and it was through asking myself the right questions and then acknowledging my desire to make a difference to people’s lives that I decided that making an internal move was far preferable to finding a completely new job at a different organisation or changing my profession entirely.
Step 3 – Have a plan
The next step is to develop a plan based on the answers to the above questions. Form a clear picture in your mind about what your goals are and how you will go about achieving them. As part of your plan, you should also write down the key steps needed to achieve your career change.
Step 4 – Schedule a conversation with your manager
Having made my decision to pursue an alternative consulting role within the business, I scheduled in a meeting with my manager. Together we determined what my options were based on business needs and vacancies, and I embarked on a series of coffees and catch ups with likely new team members.
The key to having a successful conversation with your manager is to be prepared.
Before the meeting make sure you:
- Identify in advance the points you want to raise
- Be solutions-focused and provide suggestions about how the career move will be achieved and the benefits for yourself and the company
- Spend time thinking about what you want the outcome of the conversation to be – are there any parts of your plan that you’re happy to negotiate on?
- Be direct and honest about your desire to grow, learn and change
- Deliver your desire for change in a positive and professional manner
Step 5 – Set up a timeline
It’s important to work with your manager to set up a timeline for transitioning out of your existing role. Having a clear timeframe will ensure that your internal move is as seamless as possible, both for yourself and your teammates.
It’s also valuable to schedule in periodic review dates to re-evaluate your goals and if necessary, make revisions to your career plan. Reviewing it on a regular basis is a great way to check in that you are progressing towards your objectives.
Finally, remember that change is a good thing – it encourages you to move out of your comfort zone, learn, meet new people and take on new challenges. So, if you think making an internal move sounds like it could be the change you need, start by writing a clear and concise career plan and schedule in that open and honest conversation with your manager. From there, the sky really is the limit!