Checklist

Tips on switching careers into FM

ChecklistIf you're thinking about switching to a career in facilities management, try the self-assessment questions below, to give yourself the best chance of success. 

1. What interests you, what can you do, and what do you value? 
Try to answer these questions as honestly as you can, because they are key to building insight into what motivates you and makes you tick. You can also try the questions in reverse - what bores you, what are you bad at, and what do you think is not worthwhile? But focus more strongly on the positive versions because you’ll need to keep positive for your job search and career change. 

2. Why are you dissatisfied with your current job?
Again, you’re developing insights which will help you to decide on your future direction. It can help to keep a work diary (not on a work PC!). Use the diary entries to figure out whether it's the company’s culture, your particular role, or the people you work with that are making you want to seek new opportunities. 

3. Which FM job would be right for you?
Facilities management covers a range of activities, in a very diverse set of environments and companies. Try looking at a recruitment site, and checking the job descriptions for FM jobs, noting down the kind of role that appeals to you. 

4. Start building your network
Try and make contact with people in your chosen slice of facilities management. Read the trade press, go to trade shows, or respond to blogs written by specialists in the industry. 

5. You probably have access to an FM professional already
You could start by talking to the facilities people in the building you currently work in. It’s amazing how much useful business intelligence on opportunities and companies you can gather through casual conversations. 

6. Explore online 
Use job networking sites such as LinkedIn, and social media such as Instagram and Facebook, to identify anyone working in the industry that you may be able to contact discreetly. Don’t say that you’re looking to change career unless you are ready to move job, because your current employer may see the post. 

7. Start thinking about your CV
When you read online job descriptions, start thinking about aspects of your experience that would be relevant, even though you’ve been in a different industry. For example, team leading, working with people and planning are widely applicable.

8. Get qualified
At the very least, find out what qualifications you would need. Many employers will send staff on courses - take a look at the qualifications most often requested in job ads that interest you and gain any pre-entry certificates that you need.

9. Start to move in the new direction
If you’re offered training in your current job, try and make it something that would be relevant to your potential FM career - a project management qualification is always a good option. 

10. If necessary, use a stepping stone
You may not be able to get to the job you want in one step. You may need to move sideways or to take a role in FM that will give you the experience you need to qualify for the job you really want.


business-strategy-success

Top tips for successful career planning

Career planning puts you in charge - it enables you to set your own goals and take steps to achieve them. What you want from your facilities management career will probably change radically over the course of your working life, so it’s a good idea to take some time once or twice a year, to review what you really want from your career, and start taking steps to achieve it.

Follow these five steps to make career planning a reality for you.

1. Give yourself some space and time
The best way to review what’s happened so far, and where you want to go now, is in peace and quiet, without distractions. That’s difficult if you have a noisy family or flatmates around - so maybe drive or walk to a quiet place with your notebook, and give yourself an hour or two of reflection time. Pay attention to how you feel about things, as well as what you think about them.

2. Reflection first
Look back at what has happened since the last time you did this - or since you entered the profession if this is the first time you’ve reviewed your career. Many people find it helpful to draw a diagram or a map to sum up what’s happened so far. Maybe a job that you wanted turned out to be a wrong turning. Or maybe a dreaded redundancy has turned into a great turning point. Write it all down.

3. Assess yourself
Write down what satisfies and what frustrates you about your current job. What do you like and dislike? What would you keep and what would you change? Try and separate needs from wants, so that you can look at each dispassionately. Are you doing things to please someone else? If you could please yourself, what would you do? What is your real motivation - be honest.

4. Set your goals
Remember, your goals don’t have to be more money, or promotion, or a better car, if that’s not what you really want. If you want a shorter commute, more time for your personal life, or to take a degree, these are also goals to concentrate on.

Then decide on any compromises you’re willing to make. If you want more money, are you prepared to travel further? If you want more time, are you prepared to earn less, or move sideways? Gradually, you’ll be drawing up a framework that you can use as a guide to achieving the career you want.

5. Write down the steps that will get you there
Do you need to explain it to your partner? Get a new qualification? Update your CV?

If you want to move into facilities management in a new sector, research this. Take a look at the jobs being advertised that you’d like to do, and figure out how to get the qualifications or experience they’re asking for. Getting your CV up to date is a great first start.

Unemployment in the UK is at an all-time low - so there couldn’t be a better time to change job or go for a promotion!