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How to change career without changing companies

Ok, this is a tricky situation to be in, how do you change career without changing companies? You absolutely love the company you work for – the people are amazing, the culture has a great vibe and it ticks all your boxes in terms of the work it does. The problem is you hate the role you have there and a career change is definitely on the cards. But you don’t want to leave, it’s your dream company.

Maybe you’re a journalist who secretly wants to be a graphic designer,  or a web developer  who wants to be a buyer, whatever your secret passion, all is not lost! Flip things on their head and you can realise you have an advantage in making your career change a reality because you’re already an asset to your dream company. And here’s how to capitalise on that:

Find some champions

Talk to your current boss and/ or HR about what you want to do and 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 case for a move – it’s much easier for management to say yes if there are good business reasons for the change, rather than personal drivers. Your boss will be able to give you a good steer on the possibility and advocate on your behalf to make it happen.

And talk to the person doing the job you want to do and/or their boss. Find out what the skills are you’d need to demonstrate, identify what you need to learn and  where you’d  need to excel. Consider role models in other companies – what do they do exceptionally well? Be inspired.

Work out the Gaps

Assess how much you need to learn or know in order to make the change, and build a plan to fill the gaps including qualifications (check out online courses you can do in your spare time). But don’t forget to recognise all your transferable skills too, and your current experience means you have a lot to offer, especially your company knowledge and relationships.

Be proactive

Volunteer to take on extra projects to get experience in the team you want to move to . This might mean having to work harder or longer in the short term but will be a chance for your new team  to see what you can offer.

Regularly check out the company jobs board and stay open to possibilities – it could be a sideways move into the new team can be the first step to getting the role you want .

Build your Reputation

It may take a while to make your change happen depending on vacancies so in the meantime manage your reputation. Become known for someone who is engaged and enthusiastic, is ‘on it’ and brings a positive impact to teams.

And start networking and identifying the people in the organisation you need to impress. These are the key decision makers who will help you reach your destination. This kind of strategic networking can lead to mentoring opportunities and position you well for the future. Remember jobs can be created for someone that has potential and that the organisation doesn’t want to lose.

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. You could use a 3 or 6 month sabbatical to retrain, upskill, volunteer and get the experience you need for the new career. Then when you return from your break you will be 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 with patience as ultimately this will be rewarding to both you and your dream company. It is possible to change your career without changing your company.

This post originally appeared in The Ambition Plan

Photo courtesy of Kaboompics.com

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