As Digital Campaign Manager, Hilary Harvey is an expert at herding cats and multi-tasking. She’s also excited anytime she gets to put her research background to good use.
When I was little, it seemed to me that everyone knew what they wanted to be when they grew up. There was a standard path to finding a comfortable job – get your Leaving Cert, go to university to do an undergraduate, then do a masters and step into a career for life.
For most of my peers (friends, school classmates and people I came across), by the time they were 18 they knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives – bankers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, scientists. However, for me I really didn’t know what I wanted to do until I was 28. There was a windy path, involving moving to a different country and trying my hand at market research, but after some soul-searching and additional training, I ended up exactly where I wanted to be.
It’s okay if you’re someone who doesn’t know what job they want to do at whatever age they are. The scariest thing you can do is admit you’re not happy and take a risk. The world of digital and technology is constantly changing and for many careers it’s not so simple to go from school to a job. Nowadays you have to constantly up-skill and through chance, meetings and hard work, you might suddenly land on your feet!
Here are my top pieces of advice for changing career:
— Go see a career advisor, spend the money…it’s the best money you will ever spend. A career advisor can ask you the questions you’ll need to answer to find that career best suited to your skills. They also have resources and tools at their disposal that will help make your search easier.
— Do research. Take some time out to decide what you like and what you don’t like. You don’t want to jump from one career you don’t like to another, so introspection is crucial before making any big changes.
— Think of the values which are important to your life….is it a work-life balance? For me, a big thing was flexibility and the idea that if I needed to work from home, then I could. If you want to focus on service, then finding an industry where you can help others is essential.
— Take the risk. As someone said to me, you’re in your chosen career for at least 40 years, so you need to enjoy going into work most days.
— Find out what motivates you. Is it designing? Is it selling? Is it getting your website to number one in Google SEO ranking?
— Talk to people in careers you might want to go into. You’d be surprised how friendly people are and willing to help you. I phoned and emailed loads of people and most were absolutely lovely to me and gave me really helpful advice!
— Take a deep breath and know that you’re not alone! There are thousands, if not millions, of people who change career. Some have known exactly what they wanted to do, for others (like me) it takes a little longer.
— The skills in your old career will weirdly come into use in your new career. On a daily basis, I analyse data and while it’s not my full-time job, the fact that I can analyse data quickly has come in so useful!
(And if you’re currently looking for a new job, don’t forget that we’re hiring!)