Take the leap

02.12.2019 | Text Iris Mydlach | Photo Sigrid Bjorbekkmo

Aimee Bateman is standing in a studio and looking into the camera. She is wearing a black shirt.
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Award-winning career guru Aimee Bateman founded the platform Careercake for people looking to land their dream job.

You don’t have to endure an unfulfilling job until you are old and shaky. You are the architect of your own fortune. Quitting is a real thing! As spokeswoman, founder and CEO of the award-winning career platform careercake.com, Aimee Bateman knows what challenges one faces when changing careers. She got her start on YouTube, where hundreds of thousands follow her career content, and that has led to her successfully running her own business as a career consultant. She understands that sometimes it is important to be bold.

How do you know that a new career in particular is the necessary change you need, and not something else?

It’s in the early symptoms: the feeling of dread on a Sunday night when you are thinking of going into work tomorrow, or the frustration that your career is not going in the path you thought it would. At the other end of the scale, you could be experiencing burnout. If something feels wrong and it doesn’t motivate you, or not anymore, then it’s up to you to ask yourself if it’s worth staying and making the most of a role, or pursuing something different.

What should you be prepared for when you decide to change your career?

Changing careers is an emotionally charged process. The process itself is not always difficult; rather, the emotional journey you go on needs work, care and attention. There may be days when you question your value and you may feel like a junior all over again. This is normal. On one hand, you are frustrated in your current job, but on the other, you may not be sure if you really want to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Take your time. Don’t let yourself be confused. People are shocked when you tell them you are trying something new. It starts by asking children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” A weird question for me, as it suggests that you’ve only got one answer and, whatever you choose, you then have to live with. That’s why people often stay in their jobs no matter what.

A photo of a winding road in the mountains.

If you want to change your career, which are the first steps you should take?

At first, you need to understand who you are and define your personal brand. Think about your marketable qualities. Think about your strengths, your values, your passions. You need to understand who you are before you can make the right move.

Then work out where you want to be, but be realistic. You still need to match the preferences of the recruiter, so whatever it is you want to do, make sure that you have the skill set that employers are looking for. And if you don’t, then think of how you can gain new skills, so you become a better fit.

Say you like the idea of working in marketing. Keep an eye out for job descriptions in this area and see the experience and qualities they are looking for. Reconcile that with the skills you have. This way, you can work out a list of areas you need to get some experience in.

Does e-learning make a career change easier?

There are so many great tools out there that can help you. E-learning tools or professional development content on sites such as Careercake are there to prepare you for this change. Let’s say you want to go into programming: there is a range of sites available that’ll give you tasters of what to expect. Online learning has created this valuable opportunity.

What are the most common reasons that prevent women from changing their career?

Give a job spec to a woman. If she doesn’t meet at least 90 per cent of the criteria, chances are she will not apply for the role. Give the same spec to a man and even if he only meets 50 per cent of the criteria, he’ll apply, get the interview and learn the parts or the requirements he was missing as he goes along. Men have much more confidence. This lack of confidence is holding women back.

A photo of an illuminated writing on a wall with the words “This is the sign you’ve been looking for”.

What should you keep in mind for the letter of application so you will be invited for the job interview, although you have a different background?

Make sure your CV is tailored for the role that you want to apply for. If you are changing a career and potentially do not have the required experience, you need to work a bit harder in showing the employer just how much of a right fit you are for the company. You need to “sell” yourself to the employer. You need to remove any doubt they may have.

How should one prepare for a job interview when deciding on a new career path?

Think like the employer. They’ll lead you down a line of questioning which will help them understand what value you will bring, but also what potential risk you pose as someone new to this career. If you are new to the role, I would suggest that you look at any additional qualities and transferable skills you can bring.

Do you believe career changes will be more common and also more socially accepted in a couple of years?

The concept of having a job for life is gone, and career changes will be more accepted. New working practices, such as remote working and flexible working, will make it much easier especially for women to choose their own path – beside archaic reasons that would have got in their way.

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