Changing careers isn’t always easy. However, these five pieces of advice should make it easier to successfully move into a new career.
Know that you can’t see the future
We all crave stability in our lives, and that drives a lot of our decision-making. If you can’t imagine a scenario in which you could be successful at something, the tendency is to avoid doing that thing.
However, if you want to make great change in your life, you must exercise a little bit of blind faith. You can’t always predict your next major life event, and there are dozens of circumstances that will come together to inform your big move. A lot of those circumstances haven’t happened yet, and many of them are completely unpredictable.
If you only walk on proven ground, you’re unlikely to end up somewhere new. To make a career change – or any major life change, really – you must be willing to venture into the unknown. And yes, this means you’re going to have to sacrifice some of the stability you’ve grown used to.
Think outside the box
To follow up on the previous tip, you’re going to need to learn new things and be creative if you want to transition into a new job field. It’s unlikely that your career path will mimic someone else’s, so you’re likely going to make serious choices without a lot of guidance. This requires outside-the-box thinking.
Here are two examples of what we mean by this:
- Let’s say you want to work in marketing, but you have no experience in that field. However, you might have worked at a coffee shop, where you were very good at convincing customers to try out the newest coffee blends. Or maybe you’ve done some political campaigning work. You might even play in a local band that’s getting quite popular due to some unique word-of-mouth advertising that you’ve guided. All these things will be points in your favor in order to transition into a marketing career; you’ll just need to figure out how to convince a potential employer of this.
- Again, let’s pretend you want to work in marketing. Perhaps no one is hiring in this field at the moment, so you pick up a short-term job as a teaching assistant. Don’t put your career goals on hold; think about how you can use your current situation to start networking and to develop skills that will be useful in your future pursuits.
And speaking of networking…
Build a new network
It’s highly likely that your current network is filled with people who do work that’s similar to yours. That’s just an inevitability of networking within your field. To truly break away from your current career path, you’ll need to build a new network from scratch. Yes, this is going to be a lot more work than simply reaching out to people you already know, but if you want to move into new territory, you need a fresh start.
How do you begin building a new network? Reach out to people in careers you’re interested in. Perhaps take a few night classes that are related to your current career goals and develop good rapport with your instructor and fellow students. If there are job fairs and career seminars in your area, attend them and try to meet new people.
Plus, developing a new network doesn’t have to feel like work; there are plenty of ways to have fun while building a network. For example, you could join meetup groups related to your hobbies, or even hobbies you think you might be interested in but have never tried. Perhaps someone you meet in, say, a river canoeing group will know of a job vacancy that needs filling.
Don’t let yourself slack off
If you’ve been seeking a new career for a while, it’s far too easy to get discouraged. However, you must be determined and active if you want to make this happen. Don’t put off the things you need to do to make the transition work. Maintain your focus on the task at hand and don’t get distracted. You might have to give up a few comforts for a little while in order to be successful; it’s highly unlikely you’ll find a new job by binging television shows on Netflix.
Make lists of micro-goals and check them off as you accomplish them. These can be as simple as submitting a resume or scheduling an appointment with a career advisor. Make sure that every single day, you do at least one thing to further your career goals, no matter how small that thing is. When you think about it, a month of doing one small thing per day equals 28 to 31 small accomplishments, which will inevitably add up to a bigger one.
Contact a staffing agency
If you’re serious about switching careers, you should talk to a staffing agency like Staffing Proxy as soon as you can. Even if there aren’t jobs available in your desired field, a staffing agency will have resources that can help you figure out your career path, such as lists of requirements that certain career fields tend to ask for. It’s never too early to star compiling resources. Reach out to a staffing agency today