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How to change direction in your career without taking a backward step

People change careers for a number of reasons. An aging bricklayer, back hunched and twisted like a modern-day Quasimodo, packs it in after forty years on the tools before their back does. An office worker, eyes bloodshot and blurry after another fifty-hour week in front of the computer screen, closes the laptop for the last time and sees the midday sun for the first time in a decade.

It sounds simple. If you’re not enjoying your job, or it’s poor for your health, just do something else. If only it was that easy.

The primary concern for someone considering a career change is the inevitable pay-cut and embarrassing stumble down a rung on the career-ladder. A pay cut of $10k and answering to three managers, when previously you managed a team of four and earned more money, does not sound appealing. It sounds demoralising.

We put together a guide on how to change direction in your career without taking a backward step.


Identify Skills

Give yourself a complete skills audit. If you have been working in the same job for many years, you will have acquired skills you didn’t realise you had. Keep a diary of every task you complete over a week, then list the skills, both hard and soft, it takes to complete these tasks. This will give you a comprehensive list of skills, many of which will be highly sought after in other industries and in other jobs.


The second best option instead of keeping a manual diary is to upload your CV to Adzuna’s CV valuation tool, ValueMyCV. The tool will automatically create a skills cloud you can save to your computer.

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Find Jobs Where Those Skills are Sought After

Here’s a real-life example to guide you and give you hope.

James worked in home-lending for one of the big four banks in Australia. After three years in the job, he was burnt out and looking for a change.

He wanted to find a job that didn’t have sales targets, with more flexible hours.

He has a mortgage and travels overseas once a year, so the pay for the new gig has to be the same or higher.

Tell him he’s dreamin, right? Not so fast. Jimmy kept a diary of the tasks he completed over a week, then identified every skill he has.



Public speaking

Educating customers


Experience teaching a process

Experience learning and implementing complex computer systems

James doesn’t want to work in sales, so we can scratch sales skills from the equation. James DOES enjoy learning and teaching, so let’s highlight both of those skills.

James conducted a number of searches on He searched phrases including:


Computer systems

Computer training


He landed on a job as a Training Facilitator for the NSW Government. The job involves learning and then teaching new computer systems to government employees across key departments.

James’ annual salary at the bank was $60,000. He now commands a base salary of $75,000 and he accumulates every extra hour he works over a standard 37 hour week and can then take days off using these hours. Win, win.

If you want to cut down on the manual process of matching up your skills, upload your resume’ to ValueMyCV and follow the steps through to Career Paths. This smart technology will drag every skill you listed in your CV and make suggestions on potential career paths. Further to this, ValueMyCV then automatically searches for jobs based on your skills.  



Target Growing Industries

Healthcare is the fastest growing industry in Australia as a result of our rapidly aging population. The sector is the largest hirer on and year-on-year has recorded record growth in the number of jobs available.

Salaries are also higher in healthcare compared to other industries. It’s a simple case of supply and demand. The industry is desperate for workers across all disciplines.

If you are looking to change careers, take a look at growing industries such as healthcare. You will improve your chances of landing a job.


Tap Personal Network

Find out as much as much as you can about those fields and reach out to personal contacts in those sectors A good source of contacts for informational interviewers is your University alumni. LinkedIn is another great resource for finding contacts in specific career fields of interest.


Consider a New Job in the Same Industry

Consider alternative roles within your current industry which would utilize the industry knowledge you already have e.g. If you are a store manager for a large retail chain and have grown tired of the evening and weekend hours, consider a move to corporate recruiting within the retail industry. Or if you are a programmer who doesn’t want to program, consider technical sales or project management.

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