Career change 101

If you are thinking of switching career Liz Sebag-Montefiore from has some useful advice on pitching your CV and using social media to your advantage.

uk employment law changes on the horizon


Many people are thinking of changing sector these days, often because they feel undervalued and overworked in their own sector, because they need more money or because they have been made redundant.

But changing career path needs a lot of thought. You don’t want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. According to careers expert Liz Sebag-Montefiore, co-founder and director of 10Eighty [pictured below right] it is important to reflect deeply on what you want to do, what your personal and careers values are  versus what your strengths and skills are. She advised using the intelligent career theory, which posits three “ways of knowing”: knowing-why, knowing-how, and knowing-whom.

liz sebag montefioreYou should ask yourself, for instance, is a career change right for me and is it right now? How do you want to work? Where do I want to work – close to home; do I want to commute? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you know what is non-negotiable for you and what is a ‘nice to have’. This can help you decide if a career change is right for you or if, for instance, you would be better off returning to your old career and seeing if you can change your job in ways that suit you better. The exercise can also help if you have got different options on offer.

She says employers are much more amenable to career transfer these days so people should not be put off if they don’t have experience in a particular sector.  Nevertheless,  it is important to keep networking, for instance, via LinkedIn, while you are on a career break and build relationships for the long term. LinkedIn can be used to build your knowledge about a new sector and to understand if it is right for you through joining professional groups, commenting on posts to build your visibility and attending events, whether virtual or not. It is also worth looking at your LI contact’s contacts as they may be useful sources of information and help. Youtube is also a good source of information on different careers as are sector-specific podcasts. There is a lot of free content available if you look, says Liz, and knowing more about the sector shows your interest and commitment.

Talking to people who work in that sector is an important way of getting the inside track and you can also ask for work experience to see if it aligns with your career values. Liz advises using any contacts that can help you at a strategic level and recommended scoring your existing contacts from 1-3 in terms of how well you know them, whether you have added valued to them and can therefore ask for a return favour and whether they would respond to a request. You can then start working your way down from the 3s to the 1s.

Liz also has advice on CV writing,  including how to use action words and give different examples for each job role you have done on your CV. On getting around Applicant Tracking Systems, she says that it’s important to follow the job description and customise key words, for example, for Sales Tech Roles, an ATS might be searching for keyword acronyms like SaaS, UCAAS or ERP. “Make sure you include these in your CV, with the correct grammar. Ensure you use modern terminology, for instance, you may have past experience as a Marketing Specialist but the ATS is searching for a Digital Marketing Specialist.”

She also advises researching the company and culture and including additional keywords relevant to the company such as values, agile working, authenticity, etc. She says it is important to submit your CV in a Word or Google doc format if possible as some ATS can’t parse PDF documents. Another tip is to input the job description and your CV into ChatGPT and tell the AI to revise your CV to be more ATS-friendly as per the included job description. Liz recommends to help build ATS-friendly, keyword-rich CVs.

Other advice includes:

– adding keywords to your LI summary so it is picked up for LI jobs;

– thinking long term about what you might need to get to where you want to be;

– focusing on what you can do and have done in order to move confidence issues to the back of your mind;

– writing a career plan – you are more likely to achieve it if you write it down, although it doesn’t mean it is set in stone plus you can think strategically about who can help you achieve it.

*Liz spoke at our sister site’s first Return to Work Week. Watch the video below:

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