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Career Changers, Career Development

The Ultimate Checklist for Aspiring Career-Switchers

General Assembly
May 21, 2023
The Ultimate Checklist for Aspiring Career-Switchers

We invited Nabil Farrag, Country Director of Spring Professional LHH (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (license number: 09C5803), to share his best tips for individuals who want to switch into a career in tech. Nabil has over a decade of recruitment experience working in various markets, including Australia, Asia, and Europe. His expertise in technology recruitment and coaching and consulting is sure to help anyone trying to figure out how to find a new career.

Step 1: Assess

Determine whether a career switch is right for you and what you want to change in your current work dynamic.

The current job market, which is experiencing a skill shortage, provides a good opportunity for career transition. Before making a career change, individuals should consider their interests and passions within their work, as well as their likes and dislikes in their current role. It’s important to focus on the core parts of a task that they enjoy, rather than tangible things like using excel. They should also take note of what they dislike about their current role and determine if it’s the job or the company they dislike. A career change should not be based solely on disliking a current job or company.

Job dissatisfaction should be written down and examined objectively. This analysis will show whether the problem is with the job, the company culture or something else, and whether it requires a career change or a job change. 

Changing careers for higher pay or because you dislike your current boss could be a mistake. Transferable skills should be assessed and displayed correctly to open up your mind to different job opportunities. Changing fields is an option, but it may require professional training and certification.

The technology industry requires a lot of education and training to be successful. Make sure you are prepared to put in the necessary time and effort to gain the required skills and qualifications you need to be successful. Having a strong passion for a topic or industry is important in order to motivate yourself to learn and succeed in your new field.

Take our 10-question quiz to discover which “tech” industry best aligns with your personality.

Step 2: Visualize

Reflect on your past work experience and expertise, and determine how you want your career to move forward.

One way to decide upon a direction for your career is to visualize multiple aspects of what your next job will hold. Think about your desired function and industry expertise. It is important to identify the function of a job, and how you can add value there by leveraging your past experiences.  It is crucial to start in a new function within an industry that aligns with your experience before navigating into other industries. 

Earning potential is another vital point to consider. Be sure to research how long it takes to advance so you’re earning the money necessary for your desired lifestyle. Personal growth is another big consideration, where individuals must be willing to take a step back and learn new things even if they have years of experience. 

Finally, think about your personality and tailor your career to it. For example, if you are extroverted you will want to find a tech job that suits an outgoing personality. You don’t have to force yourself into a stereotype to work in tech. For example, there are many different types of software engineers.

Step 3: Strategize

Plan and prepare for the career switch, including determining the correct pathway and necessary steps.

One of the most crucial ingredients in a successful career transition is strategy. This involves researching the job and its required skills, looking at people within the organization who have your desired job title, and finding people who have transitioned into the field from similar backgrounds. 

You should do some part-time, freelance, or volunteer work to gain exposure to these types of individuals to assess if your intended switch is worthwhile. Nabil said researching people on LinkedIn can provide a lot of insight into your desired role. 

“Look at their areas of expertise. You will start to see trends. You will start to see commonalities in terms of their background. You will start to see certain skills that these people have all acquired. They will potentially write it in their bio of what they did in the role. They could highlight it as a skill on LinkedIn as one of their skills. Sometimes it can be visible from their education backgrounds, etcetera.

Need help strategizing your next move? Download The Career Changer’s Guide to Doing Something Different. It’ll give you key resources, tips, and a six-week roadmap to help you plan every step of your career-changing journey.

Step 4: Research

Conduct research on the industry, market conditions, job opportunities, and people who have successfully navigated a career transition.

There are several things to consider from a research perspective. First, technical certifications and degrees are often required, and it’s important to research and obtain them before applying for jobs. Organizations like GA can be helpful in figuring out the technical certifications you’ll need. 

Interested in taking the next step in your career change or do you need some career change advice? Talk to our Admissions Team today to learn more about the reskilling opportunities available at GA.

Additionally, it’s crucial to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for by researching how professionals in the field write their own resumes and communicate their qualifications. Connecting with professionals in the field and asking for their honest feedback on your CV can also be helpful in identifying areas that need improvement. Transferable skills are also important to highlight, such as sales, analytics, team management, creativity, and problem-solving. 

When looking for a more creative job, it’s important to identify instances where you have been creative in your current job and use keywords like create, design, and transform to apply them to your new job.

Step 5: Take Action

Implement the plan and navigate the career transition by understanding the way recruiters think.

To prepare for the action you’re now ready to take, let’s review the funnel recruiters take candidates through so you can create your own application funnel that mirrors the recruitment process.

Recruiters start with a broad spectrum of candidates. Similarly, the widest part of your funnel should be making connections. Do you, or does anyone in your network know people in this new field? Introduce yourself to as many people as possible (you’ll see why in a moment.)

After some sorting, recruiters begin contacting candidates. The next stage in your funnel is submitting applications. Limit your applications to 20 per month as overapplying can be a red flag to recruiters (yes —they can see how many jobs you apply to on LinkedIn.) Keep track of the jobs you’ve applied to, the portal you applied through, and the date you applied.

You won’t hear back about every application, which is why the next stage of your funnel is following up. It’s appropriate to touch base every two weeks. If you run into a wall, try connecting with someone from HR on LinkedIn and asking if they can update you on your application’s status.

The next stage of both funnels is the same: conducting interviews. Ask people in your target industry if you can pick their brain over lunch or coffee, and get their expert advice. They’ll be the most likely to share the hard truths and honest feedback you need.

The bottom stages of your funnel will be going to actual job interviews, collecting feedback from interviewers (when possible), receiving job offers, and then finally accepting a position.

The vast majority of your work, however, should be focused on connecting and engaging with people in your desired market. Who better to help you along your way than the General Assembly Admissions Team?

Reach out to us anytime for career change advice, insight into good second careers, or even the best midlife career changes.


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