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MENTOR - TOP TIPS

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How to switch departments...
How to switch departments

T ime was, you would go into a department and stay there rather than switching around throughout your career. But that is all changing and these days it makes sense to look outside your existing field when it comes to shinning your way up the job ladder.

In some professions, such as law, specialist knowledge is a must, but there is a growing recognition of the value of transferable skills. You can use these skills to your advantage - often experience in another department is seen as a bonus. The key is selling your skills, and proving your experience can match the new job description.

Here are some tips on changing departments:

>> Research skills and qualifications needed to move into the department you are interested in and develop those.

>> Organise an informal meeting with senior managers from the department you hope to move into. Having a chat over a coffee is a good way of finding out more and they will appreciate your enthusiasm.

>> Professional bodies are a goldmine for information so contact them for information.

>> Develop your transferable skills through formal training such as management courses.

>> Don't discount informal training. Job shadowing is not only a useful means to see what the job is about, it is also a handy way to get to know people.

>> Keep abreast of developments in the sector both on a local and a national level. There is no point knowing about the latest legislation if you do not know how it affects your council. Also local issues need to be seen in a national context.

>> Attending events is a good way of networking and keeping up to date on new developments.

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