How To: navigate a career change

Written by: Design Week
Published on: 4 Apr 2017

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In the first of four “How to Guides”, recruitment agency Vitamin T offers a step-by-step guide on how to change career.


Making the decision to change your career path can be incredibly daunting, whether you are just starting out or have been in your position for years. There are many reasons you could decide it’s time for a change, from feeling undervalued in your current role, to redundancy, to changes in your personal situation. Job hunting is competitive, with employers receiving an average of 40 applications per role. This makes changing career difficult, as you might be competing against candidates who have more relevant experience and qualifications. You may feel that the only way to make the change is to accept a role that is a step back from your current job, either in terms of position or salary.

Here is our advice on making the change work for you, without having to start over.

Create your mission statement

Having a personal mission statement is a great way to work out where you are in your career, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. Begin by considering the things you value and the aspects of your job that make you excited. Think about what you are good at, your favourite day to day responsibilities and what transferrable skills you have that could help you do more of the best bits. Build this information into your mission statement and use it to help guide you through your career change.

Build your network

It is becoming increasingly common for hiring managers to source employees through their own networks and some companies even offer incentives for referrals. If your current network is limited to the specific discipline that you are trying to move away from then there are plenty of ways to grow it. Begin by making connections on and offline. Attend industry conferences and networking events, make sure to talk to as many people as possible and don’t forget to hand out your business card. Make sure your social media profiles are up to date, join groups and add to the discussions.

Upskill yourself

You don’t need to spend a lot of money or go back into full time education in order to expand your skillset. Look out for events and panel discussions you can attend or part time courses that fit in with your schedule. Try reading some industry relevant books, blogs and whitepapers, a lot of content is now available online for free and is easily accessible. There are also online training programmes available, such as Lynda, where you can tailor training to your needs. Or you can access free online courses through our Gymnasium training classes at

Remember, a career change can be invigorating and energising but it won’t happen overnight. It can take a minimum of 6 months to make the move. It’s important to find your starting point and take small steps regularly from there. Don’t rush the process or try to do too many things all in one go. Once you’ve made the decision to change your career, a well thought out plan will be your best tool to get you there.

Need some more advice on getting your dream job? We’ve created a ‘how to’ guide on all you could ever want to know when searching for your next role. From getting started with your job hunt, to making sure you’re earning the right salary, to smashing your interview – and everything in between. And if that’s not amazing enough, it’s also free! Download it now at