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Career Change Challenges

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Natalie Pearson

Move Commercial asked us to give our advice to those who are looking to change careers later in life. We speak with candidates every day who are looking to break into a new sector or job role. Some of our consultants used to work in the legal and building surveyor sectors, so we have first-hand experience in taking that leap into the unknown. We've come up with a list of useful tips that will help you navigate that career change with ease.

What are the biggest challenges in changing careers later in life?

Gaps in Training & Experience

Some of your skills will be transferable but if you’re moving from sales to building surveying you’ll need to complete an accredited degree course.

Getting an Employer to Take a Chance

Any new employee is a risk to an employer, candidates might impress at interview but don’t deliver on the job. You’ll have to demonstrate that you’re an asset and not a risk. Demonstrate to an employer how passionate you are, your willingness to learn and the things you’ve achieved throughout your career so far and how these skills will benefit your employer. Are you a great public speaker? Have you successfully managed a team or project? Think about your own hobbies and interests, if you regularly volunteer then a company which shares the same values as you could help you land a new role.

Staying Positive

Staying in the right mindset when you’re looking for a career change is tough. There will be rejection, self-doubt and fear. You will have to prepare yourself for these obstacles whilst staying focused on your long-term goals. A career change won’t always be a linear path so staying positive, being patient and persistent is extremely important.

Is it an Expensive Move?

Realistically a career change can be expensive, and this is something you need to prepare for. You might need to obtain new qualifications and trade memberships. Some employers might be able to help you with the financial costs but this is where you’d need to do your research beforehand. It’s never a bad idea to start saving as soon as possible to have that extra safety net.

When changing career you also need to be prepared for a drop in salary and have realistic expectations as you move into an entry level role, this will be a great way to get your foot in the door.

Caroline Kingsley (former Building Surveyor), Director at Kingsley Recruitment

What steps should someone looking to change career take?

Research, Research, Research

Identify what interests you, your current skillset, your long-term goals and your values. This is important as you want your next move to be fulfilling. Research different career options, talk to recruiters in the sector you’re looking to break into, they’re well versed in knowing exactly what employers are looking for and what holds candidates back. 

It was naturally rather nerve-wracking starting a new career in legal recruitment. However, I soon realised it was the right decision for me and I’ve not looked back! My legal background has proven to be invaluable; I can relate to candidates and clients, as I have been there and got the t-shirt! I know a lot about how law firms operate and the pressures that sometimes can occur at both sides.

Kelly Edwards (former Paralegal), Recruitment Consultant at Kingsley Recruitment

 What would your top tips be for someone looking to change career?

Build New Relationships

LinkedIn is a great tool to utilise when changing career, reach out to your own alumni in similar fields, connect with people who have the job you want and ask them a few questions, you might even find a mentor to help you. Join professional networks and get involved in events.


Research the sector, find out what skills and qualifications you need to have in order to successfully change career. 

Be Persistent

If you’re passionate about changing career, it won’t happen overnight so stay focused and prepare yourself for inevitable knockbacks. 

Check your Finances

You might need to take a pay cut to land an entry level role and you might need to invest in retraining. 

Prior to joining Kingsley as a Legal Consultant, I worked at two Top 40 law firms and have gained over seven years’ experience combined. When I was considering a career change, naturally I had mixed emotions. After all I was stepping away from what I would call my ‘comfort zone’!

Laura-Jayne Levine (former Paralegal), Recruitment Consultant at Kingsley Recruitment

At Kingsley we’re always looking for talented consultants to join us. Even if you don’t see a suitable vacancy, we are happy to review CVs. If you're looking to retrain for a career in recruitment then take a look at our Join Us page.