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How to find your niche

How to find your niche

In her first column for Changing Careers Magazine, Angela discusses how to find your niche, whether you’re changing your career, just starting out or looking for a new role. rn

Establishing exactly what the right career path is for you can be a daunting process. Even if you know what your ultimate career goal is, it can often be difficult to find a way into your chosen sector.

I often find that young people who are looking for their first job, or in fact anyone who is looking for a new job or a career change will sit in front of a potential employer and say “I don’t mind what I do, I’ll try my hand at anything”. They think that this is an attractive quality, but in many instances, this is actually a real turn off for employers. It gives the impression that you’re desperate for any job. As an employer I am looking for someone who is interested in the work that we do and passionate about our sector – it’s all too easy to say you’re interested, but real passion will come across in an interview.

You’ll be much more likely to perform well in an interview if you’re talking about something that you have a genuine interest in, so it’s vital to establish exactly what this is. For some, particularly those entering their first job or changing sector, it’s difficult to know exactly where to start, but the entire world of work can be pretty much categorised under four main industry sectors, namely construction, education and care, technology and retail and leisure.

Looking at each of these sectors is a really good way of deciding on your niche. So if construction is the most appealing of those sectors, think about the career options available within it – it’s not just the building of the buildings, it’s the design, the maintenance, the catering etc. Start small and in an area that you’re comfortable and experienced in within your chosen wider sector, and this could lead to something much bigger within this area.

Once you start to drill things down, think about what your ultimate goal is within this sector – if its construction, the goal might be a quantity surveyor, for example. This is the ‘bullseye’ in the middle of a target, but if you have no relevant qualifications, it can be difficult to get anywhere near that bullseye. If this is the case, start on the periphery. Get some experience in the sector, then in your next job, start to specialise and this will move you further on. To ‘hit’ the bullseye, you might need to re-train or get some additional qualifications, but if this is your ultimate goal, a stop along the way to do this can be worth it. However, if you get your foot in the door, you may find that you’re taken along a similar, yet different path that you enjoy more.

If you want to move from one area to another, it’s vital to think about the experience that you have and the things that you do in your current job that have synergy with the skills required in the industry you want to break into. It’s always possible to link things – so many skills are transferable from one sector to another. If you do this effectively, it will look like this was part of your career plan all along, and that everything you’ve done so far was a stepping stone to get you to the point you’re at now.

Finding your niche is vital – it’s not to say that you cannot or should not move around in this area – after all, it’s impossible to know what a job will be like until you do it but by putting yourself in a box of your choosing, you’ll be able to work your way towards your perfect job.