Career Transition Example – Social worker to accountant

Career Transition Example – Social worker to accountant

Social worker definitely belongs to the most important roles in our society. But the job often takes its toll on a person. You devote a lot of energy to your job, often working with the people on the fringe of society. Working hours can extend anytime, and you sometimes hear a load of bad words from people you are actually trying to help.

What’s more, in many countries social workers just don’t get the recognition they deserve. It’s not uncommon that a stockroom worker earns more than a social worker does in Europe. Combining all these factors, no wonder that many people opt for a career transition. Some have worked in the field of social work for more than a decade, considering it their calling, but eventually the fire burned out….

Accountant, on the other hand, is a very perspective job. Everything changes once you make that career move–people you meet, your working hours, the principal nature of the work. Carla, one of my former clients, wanted to quit a social worker job, and looked for an alternative. After interviewing her, and understanding that she already knew some accounting, and couldn’t afford studying a completely new field, we decided to give it a try.


Steps I took with Carla to prepare her for the career transition

  1. Carla started to visit weekend accounting seminar, and polished her knowledge from the high school.
  2. We improved her resume, and wrote a very authentic cover letter, where she explained why she decided to change her career, and emphasized the strengths that should put her in a prime position to become a great accountant.
  3. We made of list of twenty companies in her neighborhood, that might be looking for an accountant, ranging from individual consultancy firms, to big corporations that advertised the job offers for entry level accountants.
  4. We prepared a strategy for the job interviews in these companies, using mostly the interview guide we found at website.
  5. Meanwhile, Carla kept her social worker job, to not struggle with her cash flow (she was a single mother of two back then).
  6. Once she completed the seminar, and felt ready, we crafted an individual application for seven from the twenty employers we identified earlier, and Carla brought it directly to the company. While waiting for a possible interview invitations, we once again went through the process of career change, and everything Carla should expect on her new journey. Soon enough, she got two interview invitations.
  7. Since she was well prepared, and knew how to answer even the most difficult questions (those about her decision to make a career change, and how she planned to handle the job she had never held before), Carla succeeded in both interviews.
  8. She terminated her contract with the previous employer and started her new career in a small consultancy firm, on a position of an assistant accountant. Once she gains some experience, she plans to open her own accounting company–something we talked about from a beginning, a change that will finally allow her to spend more time with her children. But that’s the next step….


Be realistic about your chances

Job market works like every other market – some positions are in demand, and some are not. Once you plan your transition to a highly technical field, you should consider how realistic your chances are. If the demand is very high and there’s no adequate supply in your area, you may manage to secure a new position even without previous experience. Juts as Carla did. But in order to do so, you need to plan your transition properly and prepare for the interview better than the other applicants.

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