Many readers have written in asking for advice on career changes. Here Professor Bennison provides general tips on moving discipline.
Many of your questions concern issues to be considered when changing career. I have made some major changes in the direction of my career over the past 40 years, and have learnt a few important points which you may find helpful.
You need to demonstrate that you have the skills, knowledge and experience needed to fully perform the tasks inherent in a new job. A switch from HR to finance, for example, demands a basic qualification in a financial discipline before you will be considered for a post. Such a change commits you to a period of study for perhaps three years.
This length of study is normally required when switching jobs between professions that control entry by their own qualifications. If your new career doesn't require professional qualifications, you will still have to demonstrate you have the skills, knowledge and experience to be fully effective. Ask yourself 'How can I acquire these skills?' You'll probably have to look for an organisation which provides on-the-job training.
You might, however, want to become a consultant within your existing area of expertise.
In joining an existing consultancy, there are two issues to be faced. Many consultancies prefer to recruit highly-qualified graduates and train them. Some years ago I applied to join such an organisation and although I was recognised as a leading figure in HR planning, and had built up and managed a team of successful consultants, I wasn't considered for a position because the firm's policy was to employ only newly-qualified graduates. If you graduated in the last two years with a first or upper second in your degree or have an MBA, take a chance and apply.
Consultancies that recruit people with experience in the areas the company offers will demand high levels of skill, knowledge and experience and a proven track record in implementation. They will also be judging if you have the necessary managerial process skills - organising, influencing, communicating - to deal with their clients.
If your current company operates a management development policy and you have been in your job for some years, you may have received training in these skills. If not, there are many short courses offered by a wide range of organisations. They are good for acquiring an appreciation of w