Career Change – Top Tips For Career Shifters

Top Tips for Career Shifters

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Most professionals are currently working in fields and specialities that they are passionate about. But recent studies show that 36% of the workforce are unsatisfied with their current job. There can be a wide range of reasons why they may be feeling this way, such as being dissatisfied with the responsibilities of their role, lacking interest in their field, and feeling purposeless in their industry. For women of colour, this can boil down to the gender and sexual bias against them within their working environment.

The good news is that making a career shift can be done at any point in time. As a woman of colour, you might find this decision daunting at first but at the end of the day, the change can bring about the positive impact you have been looking for. If you are planning on diving into a new career, here are some tips you can use to have an easier transition:

Find the right qualifications for your CV

More often than not, women of colour have to work twice as hard just to get half the approval that their male counterparts get. Racial justice writer Yasmina Floyer explains that employers often hire people of colour not for their skills but to create better diversity within their companies. While diversifying a workforce is great, being treated as a “token worker” negates their talents as professionals and capable workers.

To address this, make sure your CV highlights your best qualities, skills, and experiences. This allows employers to see that you are someone worth hiring based on credentials alone and that your race and gender are not the only important parts about you as a professional. If you have any relevant certifications or proven work make sure to list them down. For different medical fields such as nursing, our previous post on a ‘Career Change for Nurses’ notes that highlighting technical experiences, like hospital placements and even volunteer nursing positions, will show you to be a great hire. Just remember that when making a career change to speciality industries such as healthcare and architecture, you will need to have the right qualifications that allow you to be a practising professional.

Research on companies you want to work for

Gender and racial bias start as soon as the application process begins and this translates to the working environment being uncomfortable. As such, women of colour have felt like they can’t be proud of their own identity. An article by The Guardian highlights just how much women of colour are affected by racism in the workplace, reporting that over 62% of them try to avoid being singled out as different.

Since you are shifting careers, you might not know much about the businesses within the industry, so a good amount of research will make it easier to find the companies worth applying to. Look at their current employees, initiatives they have created, and even charities they partner with to evaluate whether they have a truly diverse workforce beyond paper. A write-up by LHH on managing your first job search discusses how you can directly reach out to companies where you believe you can grow as a professional. Check if they have their own career portals or job boards within their website or even reach out to their hiring manager to see if they have any job openings. This ensures that you will not waste your time trying to join a company that will not treat you right.

Be yourself during interviews

As a woman of colour, you should be able to showcase your identity and heritage with pride. A feature by the BBC on racial identity in the workplace highlights that women of colour often tone down who they are– straightening their hair and adopting a more acceptable form of speech – just to fit in. This can all be avoided by being yourself during interviews. Putting on a facade to hide who you are will push you to try and keep it up once you are hired but if you are already clear on your identity from the get-go, you will know that your employers hired you based on merit rather than any other factors. This will also let you know if companies have any racial biases so you can avoid them. Remember that even if you are changing careers and entering unsure waters, you do not deserve to be disrespected and discriminated against.

Article contributed by Janine Ross
Exclusively for Divas Of Colour