Ask James: Should I switch careers?

Considering a career change, but not sure where to start?

In his monthly column, career coach and Chairman of, James Reed, shares his expert advice to help you tackle your biggest career concerns.

In this month’s column, James gives his advice on how to switch careers…


The question…

Hi James,

Ever since I finished my education I’ve been working in the Health sector.

I don’t enjoy it as I did before. That is why I want to start fresh and try something different.

I have an NVQ Level 3 and I’m very good at planning and organising so I was thinking something like PA, organiser, etc.

Can you please give me some advice on what to do, is that the right career for me, can I even apply for that kind of job without any other qualifications and experience?

Thank you.

Kind regards,




The answer…


Hi Katarina,

Thank you for getting in touch with your query.

Here’s a handful of things you should consider before changing careers:


Weigh up all your options

Changing careers is a big step, so it’s important to give it plenty of consideration before you make the leap. Is it just the place you’re working in or the particular role that you’re not enjoying? If you could be happy doing your job in the Health sector elsewhere, then you may want to think twice before leaving the industry behind.

However, if you’re certain that it’s the industry that’s the problem, then changing careers might be just the thing you need to do to help you start loving Mondays again.


Be clear about the type of work you’re looking for on your CV

Once you’re certain that you want to change careers, the next step is to start looking for work. However, it can be a daunting task when you haven’t got experience in the field. That’s where your CV can help.

When writing your CV, you should include details of what you’re looking for, not just the work you’ve done before. Your personal statement is the place to state what you’re aiming for in your career, so make the most of it to reaffirm your desire to move into a Personal Assistant role.

You can then use your cover letter to expand on the reasons for your career change, and why you see this role as the perfect change for you.


Focus on your transferable skills

Your personal statement should also be used to outline what you have to offer the employer. In the case of a career change, you should do this by focusing on your skills and/or major achievements before talking about previous work experience.

Once again, try to provide examples that are applicable to the role in question, which you have picked up in other jobs. For example, adaptability, management skills, problem solving, presentation and interpersonal skills are all desirable qualities to have, no matter what the industry.


Consider temporary work as a first step into your new career

People often think of temporary work as something that’s just a stop gap, but doing temp work can actually be a great way into a new career. Working as a temp gives you the opportunity to learn about a new industry and helps you to gain the experience you need to take the next step on your career path.

If you decide to take on temp work, make sure you take advantage of every chance you have to learn new things about your company and the industry you’re working in. By the time your contract is up, you’ll be prepared to make the leap into a permanent role in the field.


Good luck with your job search!

With good wishes,



If you’d like James to answer your career query, tweet your question to @James_A_Reed



Looking for more interview advice?  Download ‘Why You?’ now