Ask Heidi: ‘I’m stuck in a career rut. What should I do?’

Cosmetics Business brings you the first in a series of real-life advice columns from recruitment and careers specialist Heidi Bannister

Q: I’ve been working in the same job for the past six years.

What started out as a burning passion has, over time, dwindled into a labour of love only to become something that now fills me with dread and boredom.

Don’t get me wrong, the beauty industry is wonderful and I enjoy many aspects of my day-to-day role, but I feel like I have changed over the years, while my job hasn’t.

I lack confidence that I might not be able to change roles, because I’m not sure what else is out there and I’m not even sure that this career path is the right one for me any more.

I’m questioning whether I should stick it out, or pack it all in. Ultimately, I’m stuck in a career rut. What should I do?


Heidi Bannister
Founder & Managing Director,
Arthur Edward Recruitment

A: Firstly, don’t panic! Take time to think about your skills and what you really want, then plan your next move. Start by looking at yourself and what you’ve done in your career so far.

What are your natural talents? List the skills you use in your work and personal life. Maybe you're a multi-tasking marvel, or a whizz with numbers.

A personality test will help identify your strengths and weaknesses. 16personalities.com offers a free test with broad results, with more details for a modest fee. If you have strong planning and organisational skills, an operations or supply chain role could be spot-on for you.

How well do you know the beauty business? Research the many job types out there and be aware that some are a lot less exciting or glamorous than they sound! Make sure you know all about the one you have in mind, then work out what you need to do to compete with other candidates.

What have you achieved? You've probably done more than you realise. If you arrange store events, you may also handle bookings, manage budgets, use a database and much more.

Is there a role that uses the tasks you enjoy most? Once you've taken stock and decided it’s time for a change, plan your next move.

If you want to get into a role close to your current one, work out if there is something you can do now to gain experience. So if you’re in sales and want to get into marketing ask for involvement in a marketing project as a chance to show your abilities.

If you get on with your line manager, tell them how you feel and ask about areas you could move into within the company. If they can’t help, can they introduce you to someone who can in HR or another department? If you’re doing a good job, chances are the company will want to keep you.

The biggest challenge is breaking into an area where you have no related experience. In this situation, it’s important to be realistic. You will be up against candidates with experience, qualifications or training and may need to take a step back on the career ladder while you catch up.

To help compete, think about doing an online study course. Do you need to perfect your grammar or polish up your technology skills? Or should you invest time in gaining a qualification?

If you’re unsure where to go, contact a recruiter that specialises in the beauty industry and has in-depth knowledge of all the functions and roles out there and what they require. With your prep work done, talk to them about your options and aspirations.

A good recruiter will be honest and unbiased, helping to guide you throughout your career, not just your next move.

Heidi will be back next month for another career consultation. If you’d like to ask Heidi a question, please email cosmetics@hpcimedia.com with the subject line Ask Heidi. All emails will remain anonymous.

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