Top Tips for Changing Career Direction

Thinking about changing career or exploring a new field can be daunting but the key is to break it down into easy to manage steps. Firstly, think about setting yourself some goals and identifying what your timeline for completion is. For example, if you know that your current contract ends in one years’ time then you have approximately 6-8 months to identify sectors and roles that interest you. You also need to build up contacts within these areas, before you start making applications, which involves putting time into Networking (see this previous blog post on Networking

Your next step is to set a goal to identify 3 to 4 roles of interest within the next 3 months. After this you might then use the next 3 months to network and build new contacts that are working in each of these roles so that they can give you more insight into the day to day realities of the job Finally, the last 6 months of time available before your contract ends is used to create a relevant CV and to start making applications to roles. Creating a plan and setting actionable goals is important in order not to become overwhelmed with the topic and take no action at all!

5 Steps for Success:

  1. Undertake a Skills Audit and listen to the Micro workshop “Career Values and Drivers
  2. Research roles of interest using relevant career websites. Prospects is an excellent starting point to search by sector or job title.
  3. Search for case studies of your ideal roles in order to understand more about them. Vitae have an excellent database as does Sulsa.
  4. Listen to the Micro workshop “Creating CV’s for Careers beyond Academia
  5. Book a 1:1 Career Development Consultation to discuss your individual circumstances further


Eleanor Hennige is the IAD’s Research Staff Careers Consultant, supporting fixed-term research staff at the University with their career planning and options.  Eleanor runs our 1:1 career development consultations, she delivers our suite of career workshops and works with Schools/Research Staff Societies on career specific events and workshops.  Eleanor works on a part-time basis (5 mornings a week) and can be contacted at

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