Recently I commented on an ABC Australia Facebook post titled “How do I change careers when I’ve been in the same job for ages“. The short version of the comment was “apply your skills”. You can read the long version here, but this blog will have a look at how to write a career change selection criteria.
Reflecting on my own career it went something like this:
- Study – Bachelor of Arts (Social Welfare) 1990-1992
- Work – Pastoral Care Support Manager 1992-1996
- Study – Queensland police academy 1996
- Work – Sworn police officer Queensland 1996-2005
- Study – Graduate Diploma (Criminal Intelligence) 2002-2004
- Work – Civilian analyst Queensland police 2005-2007
- Work – ICT Account relationship manager 2007-2008
- Work – ICT Business manager 2008-2009
- Work – ICT System manager 2009-2010
- Work – Investigations and intelligence manager 2010-2012
- Work – Intelligence and data manager 2012-2015
- Work – Compliance operations and systems support manager 2015-2017
- Work – Cloud systems support and big data analyst manager 2017–now
The professional themes in that are social welfare, law enforcement, analytics (data and intelligence), ICT and management.
You’ll note the only qualifications I have are social welfare, law enforcement and intelligence analytics. The obvious professional roles I am “unqualified” for are the ICT roles in relationship, business and especially ICT systems management.
So how did I get into those careers?
Apply your skills
When you are preparing a career change selection criteria response, you must give work examples for competency areas. Competency areas are usually broad – communication skills or writing skills. They do not need to be occupation specific. Having communication skills in police work is totally relevant to needing communication skills in an IT relationship management role. Some days in more ways than one.
In the Competing Selection Criteria course I talk about how government position descriptions have changed. In Lesson #1 Understanding Position Descriptions slide 10 discusses:
Many years ago to become a “policy officer”, you needed to show that you had policy development skills – that really limited the opportunity to get the job.
With the creation of competency based criteria it turned “policy development” into the skills needed to do it. Things like:
- Research and analysis
- Providing advice
- Communication skills
All jobs have job context, and there are some occasions you won’t be able to apply on competency alone. Any role requiring a qualification (nursing for example) you need that qualification and the subject knowledge to apply.
Most jobs, especially in government, do not have specific qualifications. If you have planning skills as a classroom teacher, you have planning skills. If you have communication skills in customer service, you have communication skills. If you have written communication skills as a policy officer, you have written communication skills.
What you need to do, is lead your best example, and, explain it properly.
My Career Examples course gives you a framework for going through your career and identifying the examples that will show you at your best, and therefore be your strongest examples. In competitive selection, strong answers that address the competency are the key; not having worked specifically in the field you’re applying.