How to switch career paths

Posted on June 5, 2023

As part of our Enhance Your Career series, we’ll be compiling resources to help you climb the career ladder in the creative industries and advocate for yourself in the workplace. 

More and more in the creative industries, employers are looking for transferable skills from varying experiences, versus direct industry experience. If you’ve figured out an industry or career path you’d like to pivot into but are still stuck on how to make the jump, we’ve pulled together our expert advice for getting prepared to switch careers and start applying for those dream roles! 

1. Think about your skills 

These could be from work, volunteering or your personal interests. Don’t feel worried if you don’t meet each and every one of the job criteria – demonstrate your passion and ability to learn. Something we often hear from industry experts is that passion and interest from candidates about the job they’re applying for is one of the most important factors when considering who to take on.  

You can also ask yourself these questions about the industry you’re entering: Do you need a qualification? Is there a free course you can access? Can you upskill within the company you currently work at e.g. undertake training? Is there anything you can do in your own time to hone your skills and make yourself an expert on a subject? 

Remember, your individual experience has value; use your own knowledge and expertise to let employers know why they need your unique perspective.  

2. Future proof your career  

When positioning yourself and your expertise, something to consider is how can you future-proof your career in this industry and adapt to change? A huge topic affecting most industries at the moment is AI. Think about if this is going to impact your new industry, and what skills can you develop to make yourself indispensable? 

3. Talk to people in the industry you want to enter 

We know that everyone bangs on about networking – and, whilst it can feel cringe – we promise it’s worth it. People enjoy talking about their interests and career journeys, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed for heading to a networking event or reaching out to someone you admire on LinkedIn to ask how they got into the field and if they know of any opportunities, events or industry bodies you could access. Most of the time, people are willing to help and would be happily reminded by a follow up email – just make sure not to overdo it.  

You can also attend relevant industry associations and events to expand your network and get advice from others already in the roles you want to enter. 

4. Chat to a careers advisor or a mentor 

You can access career advice for free through resources like the government-funded National Careers Service, and charities like the Young Women’s Trust which offers free coaching for women under 30.  

Research shows that people from under-represented backgrounds who advance the furthest in their careers all have a strong network who nurture their professional development. Creative Access regularly runs mentoring programmes with the likes of Penguin Random House UK and ITV, as well as our own mentoring programme for those on our career development programme

You can also ask your employer to sign you up for our career development programme here.  

5. Finally, update your CV and LinkedIn! 

Get your CV ready for the industry you’re entering; update your personal profile, make each experience relevant to the skills/transferable skills you’ll use in that role. You can read our advice on how to craft the perfect CV and cover letter for the creative industries here.  

And if it’s been a while since you put together a CV and you’re looking for some more support, you can join one of our monthly CV workshops led by our recruitment team.  

LinkedIn is also one of the best tools for finding new connections and expanding your network. So, make sure it’s up to date with those transferable skills.