When it comes to careers, the one thing professionals fear the most is starting all over again. This is especially true for those advanced in their careers. They think that they can’t switch to another industry because they will start from the bottom again.
But that’s not always the case.
There are a lot of ways to make a career change without starting from scratch. If you manage your career properly and know how to interview effectively, you can use your skills and experience to transition into another field.
Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Switch Careers
Professionals shouldn’t be afraid to switch careers – it’s never too late to make a change! In fact, most skills you learn in the workplace are transferrable.
Imagine the work you do now in your industry. Do you:
- Communicate with other people, deal with different personalities, and work with colleagues with all sorts of backgrounds?
- Look at spreadsheets, prepare reports, make sure they are accurate, and present these to other people—whether to someone higher up in the organization or to a potential customer?
- Manage a team, interview candidates for open positions, look at status reports, and make sure projects get done on time and on budget?
Well, all these skills and activities are applicable in any industry. Professionals everywhere are working with other people every single day. They look at spreadsheets, budgets, and reports. They hold meetings and presentations. Professionals around the world do these things, regardless of their industry.
So, why do you think you’ll have to start at the bottom?
The Benefits of Moving to Another Industry
There are plenty of benefits to moving to another industry. You’ll:
- Gain new skills and knowledge that you can use in your next career move
- Be able to apply the skills you’ve already learned in a new way
- Meet new people with different backgrounds and experiences
- Get a chance to start fresh
Switching industries need not be a cumbersome endeavor. Here are a few tips that will help you make a successful change.
How to Make a Successful Career Change
Here are 8 tips that will help you make a career switch.
It’s All About Your Mindset
The first hurdle you need to overcome is your mindset.
Thinking (wrongly) that your skills cannot be transferrable will limit your changes of making that switch. As discussed above, most skills you learned in your current industry are also the same ones you’d need to succeed in another.
The only thing you really are at a disadvantage of is knowledge on how the new industry works. However, this can be learned easily. Read a few articles, listen to podcasts from noteworthy individuals in that industry, go through some well-known publications and you’ll probably be more knowledgeable than the person who’s been in that industry but not managing investing in themselves or any career management.
Understand What You Want to Do
But before you make that jump, make sure you understand what you really want to do.
- Do you still want to manage a team? Do you want to go higher and manage a group of managers? Or would you rather be in a specialize role?
- Do you want a change in location? Work from home vs office vs traveling?
- How about compensation? Do you want a steady salary or would you prefer to work on commissions, or both? Do stock options interest you?
The more you can vividly determine what you want to do, the easier it will be to make decisions that will move the needle.
Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
This naturally accompanies the previous tip. Knowing what you’re good at and what you’re weak at is definitely something you need to review.
Unfortunately, this is where some professionals trip up.
While skills are transferrable across industries, some require a higher standard than the rest. For example, if you’re in an artistic industry, for example, an art director, transitioning to the consulting industry might be difficult. Sure, you can work with other people and handle presentations. But you might not be an expert in spreadsheets and data analysis.
Looking at your performance reviews is also a good place to start. But don’t take this as gold. As you probably already know, most managers aren’t good at writing evaluations so you might not get much information there. There may be nuggest though so if you are keeping them, it’s worth taking a look first.
Find a Job That Matches Your Skillset
Continuing from above, look for an industry that “favors” your strengths.
If you come from the accounting/finance industry, you are most likely very detailed-oriented. You can look at numbers and see trends right away. You are very articulate with your words and know which ones work best in certain situations. So, a data scientist or consulting field will be an industry you can easily go to. Programming might also be a suitable field since you have the knack to understand different concepts and frameworks and the ability to ask the right questions and solve problems.
Network With Others in the Industry
Networking is key. Especially when making a career change, meeting people in the industry you want to switch to can give you invaluable insights.
You’ll be able to learn about job openings that may not even be posted online or through other recruiting channels and hear first-hand experiences from individuals who are already working in the field.
If you go back to the fundamentals of being a professional, you’d find the relationships is a big part of it. Don’t skip this step!
Tailor Your Resume
Speaking of the fundamentals, your resume needs to be customized not only to the industry you’re trying to get into, but for the exact job you’re applying for.
This is what will get you ahead of the curve.
Most professionals don’t do this. So, use this to your advantage.
Practice interviews for mock interviews with family members or friends before going out into the real world of interviewing. If you can’t (or don’t want to), videotape yourself and review it.
And while you’re at it, review these interview articles to prepare properly. Know exactly what hiring managers are looking for. Be careful of what words you are using. Find out how you can analyze your interview performance as well.
Final Words on Switching Careers
Making a career change can seem daunting, but with the right preparation it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Switching to a new industry can offer many benefits, such as learning new skills, developing relationships in the field, and gaining knowledge about different companies and their hiring processes.
If you’re prepared for the challenges of making a career change, follow these tips to make your transition as smooth as possible. Remember, no one manages your career for you, so you’ve got to take things into your own hands.
Don’t leave things to chance.
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