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Navigating career changes: How to make a smooth transition

Published on: 17 Mar 2023

Change is inevitable and sometimes a career change is the best decision you can make for your personal and professional growth. 

Navigating career changes can be overwhelming, especially if you have invested years building your expertise and network in a particular industry. If you are considering a career change in finance and accountancy and don’t know where to begin, ICAEW Jobs can help make this transition much easier for you.

We’ll look at how to navigate a career change, what career change options are available to you, as well as ensuring you make a smooth transition from one industry to another.

How to decide on a career change

Before embarking on a career change, it is essential to ask yourself why you want to switch careers. 

Identifying your motivations and values will help you make an informed decision. Do you want to escape a toxic work environment or pursue your passion for a different industry? Are you looking for better work-life balance, more significant challenges, or a higher salary? 

Once you identify your motivations, consider the skills, experience and qualifications you possess and how they can be transferred over to a new career.

What career change options are available for finance and accountancy professionals?

If you are currently a finance or accountancy professional and are considering a career change, there are a couple of options available.

One option  is to gain practical experience by taking on a tax or pensions accounting role in your current organisation. This can provide you with the relevant experience and exposure required to transition into one discipline to another.

Another option you may consider is moving industries while continuing to work as a finance or accounting professional. For example, if you have worked in the finance department of an automotive company and are looking to work in the public sector, having that flexibility to change from one industry to another can be very useful.

Top tips for making a smooth career change

Making a career change can be daunting, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for personal and professional growth. Here are some tips to help you make a smooth transition:

Develop a plan

Developing a plan is crucial to making a smooth career change. A well-structured plan can help you identify your career goals and the steps you need to take to achieve them. Start by identifying your skills and experiences that can be transferred to a new career. 

Conduct research on the industries and roles that interest you and assess their growth potential, required skills, and salary expectations. Based on your research, develop a timeline that outlines your job search strategies, training and education, and networking opportunities. 

Your plan should be flexible and adaptable as you progress in your career change journey.

Ask yourself where you see yourself in five to 10 years’ time

Asking yourself where you see yourself in five to 10 years’ time can help you evaluate your long-term career aspirations and align them with your new career path. 

Reflect on your strengths, interests, and values and how they can shape your future career. Consider the skills and qualifications you need to acquire to achieve your goals and the steps you need to take to get there. 

Identifying your long-term career aspirations can help you stay motivated and focused on your career change journey.

Utilise your network

Networking is a valuable tool when making a career change. Reach out to your former colleagues, mentors, or industry professionals who can offer guidance and support in helping you find your next job

Attend industry events, workshops, and conferences to expand your network and learn more about the industry and the job market. Join professional associations and online forums to connect with like-minded professionals and learn about job opportunities. 

Be proactive in building and maintaining relationships with your network, as they can offer valuable insights and referrals while exploring a career change.

Be honest with yourself and don’t rush

Making a career change can be a challenging and time-consuming process, so it's essential to be honest with yourself about your expectations and the time it may take to find a job in a new industry. 

Be realistic about your current skills and experience and identify the areas where you need to improve. Consider taking courses, volunteering, or freelancing to gain experience and develop new skills. It's also important not to rush the career changing process and take the time to evaluate your options and find the right fit. 

Making a well-informed decision can lead to a successful and fulfilling career change.

Securing your dream job with ICAEW Jobs 

Navigating career changes requires self-reflection, planning, and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. 

If you are considering a career change, take the time to evaluate your motivations, identify your transferable skills, and explore your career change options. Remember, making a career change can be an exciting opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

Making a career change to finance and accountancy? ICAEW Jobs can help you make a smooth transition and secure your dream job. For more information about the latest job listings and career advice, it’s all available on the ICAEW Jobs website.