Career Transitioning from the Public to the Private Sector – Our Top Tips

3 years ago

A career transition can be a daunting prospect; especially if it’s following a long and successful career within a particular industry or sector.

Speaking to candidates on a daily basis, one of the common challenges I hear them facing is making the transition from the public to the private sector. There’s a feeling that employers are hesitant to take on new staff members from the public sector as they are concerned that the transition in to a commercially-driven organisation is just not possible.

I take a different view on the value that public sector candidates can offer; I feel that candidates need to change their mind-set in terms of embracing a new workplace culture when making a successful move. The private sector is primarily focused on being profit driven and are focused around financial performance and productivity.

Projects in the private sector tend to be faster moving so it’s important to show prospective employers that you have the ability to work efficiently in a fast-paced environment.

However, if those wanting to transfer into the private sector plan their move strategically, it can result in a new and rewarding career with added benefits. Here are some tips to help you make the move:


Be focused and targeted in your approach

Before rewriting your CV it’s important to understand what type of organisations you want to apply to, where you want to be located, what level you want to be working at and what your ideal position is. Don’t go scattering your CV everywhere.


Tailor your CV

If you have worked in the same job for a long time, break it down into a series of projects with defined outcomes. Use genuine statistics or numbers to give examples of cost savings, productivity improvements, process improvements, reduction in waste or losses or improved customer services. This will all help to secure an interview in the private sector. It’s important to break your CV down into skills, achievements and experience.


Avoid using public sector lingo

To illustrate that you are capable of making a successful move into the private sector it’s important to use the right language, which is measurably different than public sector language. Read job descriptions and person specifications carefully, comparing like-for-like jobs in the public sector so you can understand the different language used.


Speak to recruiters and pick our brains!

We’re dealing with career moves every day – call upon our expertise to ask for advice on job roles, your CV or steps you can take.


Get Social

92% of businesses use social media as a recruitment channel. Embracing social media in your job search is essential. Begin to follow businesses of interest, sign up to job updates – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can give you huge insight in to businesses, their culture and their people.


Customers and service users aren’t necessarily the same thing

In the private sector a company’s customers are where their revenue and ultimately your salary, comes from. It’s therefore imperative that you can illustrate the level of your commercial awareness in this area throughout your CV and in interviews.


Don’t go scouring the job boards for vacancies

It’s important not to rely on advertisements to seek out opportunities. I once read an article that a whopping 85% of jobs are filled through networking alone. Therefore a targeted speculative approach to organisations that you want to work for, can really pay off if you are tactical. Why do you want to work for that organisation? What value can you bring to the table? Why would you make a great fit with their existing team? These are just some of the key questions you need to ask when identifying companies you want to approach.

As a wise person once said I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it!”



If you would like more advice on a career transition from public to private sector, contact us for a confidential discussion.
01254 239363


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