Date posted: 20/07/2020 6 min read

Tools for preparing for a new role or career change

David Cawley, Regional Director at Hays, shares how self-awareness and seeking support can prepare professionals for new roles.

In Brief

  • Research shows that the average worker can have up to 7 career changes during their lifetime
  • Understand the ‘why’ behind your career change to help prepare for a smooth transition
  • Seeking support from a recruiter or the CA ANZ network can help you navigate change

According to the Australian College of Applied Psychology, the average worker who is willing to update their qualifications and switch careers will have five to seven career changes during their lifetime[1]

Facing the inevitability of moving roles or changing careers at some point in the future, how can professionals best prepare to make the transition to a new opportunity that's better-aligned with their goals, therefore resulting in greater job satisfaction? We speak to Regional Director at Hays Accountancy & Finance, David Cawley, to find out.

Improving your self-awareness

Regardless of whether you are just setting out on your career in business, or a seasoned professional hoping to move up on the ladder - Cawley says it's important to reflect on whether you are happy in your career.

“Self-awareness in any role is incredibly important. Take some time to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, as this will help you pull together a plan that highlights what your next move should be,” Cawley says. 

David Cawley
David Cawley

Rather than constantly busying yourself with tasks and excuses, and losing sight of the ‘big picture in your career,’ Cawley recommends considering your motivations behind a potential career move, and whether the move aligns with your long-term professional goals and aspirations.

“If you are making a decision whether or not to move roles, it is important to understand the ‘why’ behind your move. For example, what are the drivers around why you’re thinking about changing roles? Are you looking to change roles within a company, or move companies?” Cawley says.

“Understanding the why behind your decision to move gives you a sense of clarity. Knowing what you don’t like in your current role, is just as invaluable as knowing what you do like.”

"Your decision is not just about your career. It’s going to impact your personal situation, the people in your life, where you live, and where you want to be. It is important to understand where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to get to in your career."
David Cawley Regional Director at Hays

Finding your sense of purpose at work and in life

As professionals spend the majority of their day at work and define themselves by what they do, a change in roles or careers can impact upon all aspects of life.

Cawley believes that it is important for accounting and finance professionals to examine both internal and external factors before making a move. He encourages professionals to recognise their value as a professional, what drives them to achieve their goals, and consider other factors, such as family and social life, that may be impacted by the decision.

“We spend a lot of our time at work. So making the decision to step away from something which has a considerable impact and shape on your life is a pretty big deal,” Cawley says.

“Your decision is not just about your career. It’s going to impact your personal situation, the people in your life, where you live, and where you want to be. It is important to understand where you’ve been, where you are and where you want to get to in your career.”

Seeking the support you need

When thinking of changing careers, or preparing to start a new role, it is important to keep open-minded and informed about ways to learn and grow to help get you where you want to be.

Cawley recommends that if you are having a tough time making a decision about your future or need help to identify gaps in your skills base or knowledge areas you need to improve on, seeking advice from an expert can be a wise next step.

“It is important to seek the help you need to understand the changing world of work. Engage with someone, whether that be a recruiter or member organisation such as CA ANZ, as they are able to share information about what roles are in demand, how you can upskill yourself and how to best pitch yourself to a potential new employer,” Cawley says. 

Cawley says professionals undertaking a career change should also prepare to experience potential challenges and setbacks as part of the process.

Although there is an initial buzz of excitement associated with change, Cawley’s advice for professionals who may feel overwhelmed during the transition is to find strength and encouragement in your personal and professional networks. They will help you to remember why you’ve decided to make a change and the world of opportunities that may lie ahead if you stay focused on your career goals.

“Engage in conversation with friends and colleagues about your plan as they are able to provide a different lens, and give you honest and critical feedback, and have a confidante that you can turn to for help on your journey. A professional mentor can also be an invaluable support and keep you motivated and on track,” Cawley says. 

“Although change can be a rollercoaster of emotions, it is important to remember that you have the support you need to succeed.” 


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