My hard work had paid off – I was in my dream job at Net-A-Porter Group as a Head of HR. It was a great brand; I had a very interesting role with a global remit and worked with a lovely team. But then organisational change happened; we were merging with another player in the luxury e-commerce market and it became clear that my role would be affected.
I’m going to skip over my experience of the ‘change curve’ except to say that we always have a choice in how we respond to it. So I ended up in a place thinking about my career, as opposed to my next job. I’d always known I wouldn’t stay in HR forever, but to change careers right now? This is how I tackled it.
Step 1: Commit To It!
There is where most of my angst lay to be honest! I asked myself some pretty big questions including: What gives me meaning in work? What am I talented at? What do I want my legacy to be? What are my values? I wanted to be crystal clear on my motivation for making a change, whilst also dealing with the insecurity of walking away from a successful HR career, income and relative status in the profession. By imagining what my future of work could be and using my values as guiding principles I became excited at the possibilities. At that point I knew I was committed.
Step 2: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
I found that working in HR gives us a range of transferable skills, but it can be difficult to articulate what we can offer because we do so many different things, so take time to reflect on what you offer and your strengths. Creating a skills based CV underpinned by achievements was critical to marketing myself effectively, as was updating my LinkedIn profile to make it really clear as to what I was looking for. To change people’s perceptions, you have to present the same data, differently.
Step 3: Put Yourself Out There
The key lessons here are to be bold, take a risk and make contact. I wanted to test the market, so I applied for a range of roles that I knew I was capable of doing but had to demonstrate why I was the right candidate – this was great practice in honing my message and proposition. I reached out to a number of my contacts to let them know of my career plans as well as seeking guidance, which invariably led to introductions and meetings. I also applied for volunteer/intern positions to gain experience, expand my network and test my assumption which was confidence building.
So where did I end up? I’ve just accepted a role with Cancer Research UK in their Marketing and Innovation Team in less than 3 months since I decided to do this. My route may not work for everyone, as individual circumstances are different. However career changes can happen and if it wasn’t for myOwnHRCareer (see what I did there?), this moment wouldn’t have been possible.
About our author
Dee Jas has been a friend of myHRcareers from the start, taking to the stage on several occassions to share insights from his impressive career in strategic HR roles across Britain’s best loved brands; BBC & TFL to name but a few. This year he made a decision to make a change, and swapped his enviable position at Net-A-Porter for the chance to take a break & start again in something completely different. Follow on Twitter
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To keep him in touch with HR and tap into his amazing range of experiences we’ve convinced him to take a role as our HR agony aunt; helping members work though their HR challenges with practical & heart felt advice.
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