Let’s start with acknowledging the courage it takes to embark on a career change. To know that this is something you really want to do, and to actually act on that – rather than staying in the same mode of work – is a big deal. Since you’re clear about your direction shift, the next step is to make it reality by landing a role that gets your foot in the door. Especially if you are very new to this industry and have little-to-no experience in the field, entry level opportunities are what you’ll be looking for.
If you’re moving from a long-standing role in a different industry, where you were comfortable and competent, but ultimately dissatisfied, then it can be a challenge to return to the beginner’s mind.
Since we’re all on a different path, and some of you may be starting with a clear vision for your new career, while others are still weighing what is right for them, read on for some valuable and easy steps to follow when embarking on your career change.
1. Know why
Why did you feel dissatisfied in your previous career? When you know what was missing, you are able to gain more clarity on what you do want from a new career. In this way, if you left your previous role because you felt disconnected to the outcomes of your work, then perhaps what you’re searching for moving forward is a hands-on job working with people, rather than in the background.
Write down why you left your last role (the business culture, the connection to your values, the hours and lifestyle etc). Then looking at those reasons, begin to formulate a list of what you do want from a career.
2. Research your options
You may already have a clear picture of the industry you wish to enter and the type of job you’re transitioning to. If so, now is the time to learn about this field and the current state of it (recent news, innovations, technology etc). Get familiar with key players and companies and create a list of the places you wish you work for. If it’s entrepreneurship you’re going for, then research some successful role models to learn how they did it. If you’re unsure about the exact career you’re changing to, look back at the list of what you want out of your job, and let that guide you in your search. In googling ‘remote working careers’ or ‘careers that work close to people’ can help to narrow down your options.
3. Try it on
Of course, some career changes will need you to get the qualifications first. If you don’t already have them, this is where you complete the course/degree to allow you to enter the field. If you’re qualified with no job history, you can still gain some valuable experience. Volunteer, intern, shadow someone in the field, take short courses, go to to info days – immerse yourself in self learning.
4. Network your way in
Finally, networking is a key way to get to know your industry in a more personal way. At the same time, key players the industry also get to know you. This is very important for developing connections with people you will most probably see again in your working life. Energetically, you will also begin to feel a sense of belonging to this more new and unfamiliar industry to you if this has been a big change of career type.
Find weekend events through Facebook groups, google searches, friends you may know in the industry already, and put yourself out there. Create a conversation starter than will help you introduce yourself in a professional (and interesting) way. Rather than ‘I worked previously as ‘this’, and now I want to work in ‘this’… craft a story about your change. For example, ‘I’m new to the industry because I didn’t feel challenged and enliven by my old career, but the prospect of working in ‘new industry name’ makes me really excited because…’
A bonus networking tip is to follow up when you make a connection! If you got contact details from someone, then send a follow up email or text expressing your gratitude at meeting them or anything else – this ensures you are remembered.
Again, taking this step is bold and inspiring. To go after what you truly want, stepping away from what you know doesn’t fill your soul and create contentment is something we can all look up to. Many people have successfully changed careers and flourished, and following these initial steps can help make you a little more confident on your journey.
To help you with networking your way in I’ve put together a free guide for how to set up coffee chats that lead to job offers, you can check that out right here.
About Guest Contributing Writer, Natalie Fisher
Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Professional who’s sat in on over 100+ interviews. She’s worked for companies including Amazon, FLIR Systems & xMatters. She believes that experience is not the be all and end all for landing your dream role and that potential and attitude can often win over experience and she’s seen proof of this many times over.