How to explain a professional retraining?
“Retraining is frowned upon.” “Changing your course is running away from something.” “Multiple professional changes, it means that I am unstable”…
When considering a possible reconversion, these fears are understandable. Until a few years ago, our grandparents and parents had linear careers, most of them working in the same trade and for the same company all their lives. Today the situation has changed: the desire to exercise a job that makes sense to you, even the job of your dreams can materialize and we are more and more looking to change jobs. There are many career changes. The younger generations prioritize their development and want to have a varied professional life. Companies have understood this and are adapting to it by emphasizing internal professional mobility to engage their employees. Moreover, more and more of them are open and attracted by “atypical profiles”, no longer seeing retraining as a form of instability. On the contrary, the ability to change and evolve can be appreciated because it is synonymous with adaptability and resilience.
We still understand your fear of being misunderstood by your loved ones, future recruiters or partners in your change of path, by choosing another profession, by joining a new company or by starting your own account. So how do you communicate about your job change?
See your retraining as a strength
Assume your desire to change paths to talk about it better
Before explaining to others your new professional path, it is important that you do not see your desire for change as a weakness but on the contrary as a strength. How can you convince someone of the legitimacy of your choice or the consistency of your career path if you yourself are not convinced? Indeed, you can choose to change your professional life to be more aligned with what you like, your values, your motivations or your relationship to work. Your retraining is your personal choice, which brings you or will surely bring you benefits and you are the best person to talk about it.
Companies are listening to profiles in retraining...
Doing a retraining is quite recurrent today and companies are more open to atypical profiles, look at the soft skills and personality of the candidate. Some even welcome employees in retraining. This is the case, within the On Purpose training program, which allows candidates to discover a profession via two 6-month immersions on fixed-term contracts in the structure of their choice.
… and make the possibilities of internal retraining accessible
To engage their employees, companies have set up training courses and systems to promote career development and internal mobility of talent. In some structures, HR ensures the stages of the career of each talent wishing to evolve in his profession.
What arguments to explain my conversion?
Changing jobs once or undertaking several reorientations is something that may concern you or will concern you in the future. How do you explain these changes in an interview to your future employer?
The common thread on your CV
Finding a red thread in your various activities can be a way of giving coherence to your journey. You can explain the stages of a professional change by showing the continuity, the link between these different experiences.
An example with Louis Delon
After a career in scientific research, he decided to change to move towards video games. He then became a freelance web developer, then completely changed paths by embarking on permaculture. These professions have little to do with each other, and yet, Louis recounts the stages of his career with great fluidity. It was first his studies as a scientist that led him to his first profession. He says he has always been driven by the challenge: "I was driven by learning and experimentation." This is what gave him the impetus to practice professionally in the web and launch his business. Then when he became a freelancer, he took advantage of this time to question his way of life “caught up in my entrepreneurial daily life, I was focused on my thing. During this 2-year break, I read a lot of books on the ecological crisis and I felt like I was waking up. I was aware there was a problem, but I was observing it from afar.” This stage of life leads him to consider the profession of permaculturist. The financial contribution of his 2 previous companies helps him to undertake this change of professional life, which he concretizes through professional training to learn his trade.
👉 Find the full interview with Louis on Les Colibris Français
Choose another route for health reasons
Burn Out, Brown Out, Bore Out, working conditions that no longer suit you are also an argument that you can put forward to explain your reorientation. Prioritizing your health and well-being is not a selfish act. Recruiters have been hearing it for a few years, hence the release of labels like Great Place to Work or Top Employer.
Link your lifestyle to your job
Doing another job as part of a life change can help you explain your retraining.
My boss, for example, was a nurse and started zero waste little by little until she integrated this approach into her lifestyle. She then made the choice to change jobs by creating her zero waste grocery store. To talk to her customers and first partners of her shop and support her legitimacy in the field, she highlighted her way of eating and consuming.
Find your way in impact
Today more and more people want to align the challenges of ecological and social transition with their job. Working to change our ways of consuming, housing, moving around, collaborating together to stick to transition issues is also a good way to justify your desire for a career change.
How can I support my application as part of a retraining?
Enhance your skills
Whatever your background, you have acquired valuable and transferable experience from one job to another. Look back on each of your professional experiences and highlight the skills you had to deploy in connection with your new job.
- Does your retraining project involve building partnerships? Talk about your ability to create bonds, long-term relationships and trust. Highlight your ability to listen and your ability to negotiate.
- Do you want to manage in your future job? Highlight the professional or personal experiences where you managed a team, federated a group.
- Do you want to start a technical job in which you have not studied? Perhaps you have already started to train yourself through books, as an autodidact. Perhaps you have served friends, colleagues or companies for services in which you have mobilized these skills?
Do a skills assessment to take stock of your achievements
To succeed in your conversion, you sometimes have to go through several stages. To begin with, a skills assessment can allow you to take stock, to understand how to find your professional path by aligning your personality, your personal and professional desires with a professional activity, or even to concretize a professional passion. During an assessment, you are accompanied individually and often collectively surrounded by people who are also looking to retrain. You are guided to talk about your past experiences, highlight your strengths and unfold the common thread of your career.
👉 Find out more on the article about skills assessments
Retraining is even a skill!
Today, there is a “professional agility” certification recognized by the state that you can highlight on your CV. Some partner organizations of jobs_that_makesense, offering a skills assessment program, are also certified professional agility. This is the case for Positive Cap and Hisse et Haut, for example.
Strengthen your profile by training...
To start a new professional life, you can do training to find another path or improve your skills in a professional field. There are several, adapted to your situation.
As a student, if you want to reorient yourself in the field of impact, you will find, for example, various specialized Masters to develop your skills in this sector of activity on jobs_that_makesense.
👉 For more information on long training courses in CSR
If you are an employee, you can find formats for a few days, face-to-face or online to complete your current skills in your job or even prepare for your change of orientation. You can finance training with your CPF or your company's OPCO.
For job seekers, training can be financed by the CPF and as part of your retraining, it is possible to request a matching contribution from your CPF account with Pôle Emploi to follow the training in connection with your retraining project.
...or by joining a structure aligned with your retraining project
As a student, you can already, as part of your training, reshape your professional project through internships in structures aligned with your desires. If you want to move into the field of impact and continue to train, there are internship offers in various sectors on jobs_that_makesense.
👉 Find out internship offers
Whatever your professional situation, to find a new path, you can test jobs by volunteering.
👉 Find out volunteer offers
If you are an employee, you can also ask your employer to put your skills at the service of a structure via skills sponsorship. As part of the CSR strategy, employers can be open to this request, if it is directed towards an SSE association or company.
👉 Find out sponsorship offers