Are you considering making a change in your career? You’re not alone. Whether you’re just starting out in your job or you’re a seasoned veteran in your industry, it’s common for people to question whether they’ve chosen the right career path.
No matter where you are in your career, pivoting can feel like a daunting undertaking. Acquiring different skills, developing new relationships, and risking a pay cut can deter many candidates from exploring alternative careers or industries. However, for many, it’s worth the risk. Finding a job that is fulfilling, rewarding, and gives you purpose is important to achieving workplace happiness.
When it comes to transitioning your career, how will you know you’re ready? What should you consider before making a change? And how can you set yourself up for a successful transition? Follow our nine tips on how to switch industries in the middle of your career.
1. Start by outlining your career goals.
As you’re considering leaving your current role, take some time to identify the reasons behind why you want to leave and what you’d like to achieve next. Consider some of the common drivers that cause people to switch jobs. Do you want to follow a dream or passion and achieve greater purpose in the workplace? Are you seeking better career growth opportunities? Are you looking for long-term financial stability? Or, perhaps your change was caused by necessity—your role was eliminated, or you were let go. Regardless of why you’ve decided to change jobs, it’s important to outline what you want to accomplish during the next phase of your career and determine if a change will help guide you toward your goals.
2. Take time to research your target industry.
Before you leap into a new role, make sure you understand your target field. Conduct research into the industry’s needs and trends. Learn about jobs titles, salary ranges, and career paths. Educate yourself on the common terminology so that you can have informed conversations when you talk to people in the industry. Find out what they enjoy and what challenges them. Once you have insights into your new career path, you’ll have a better understanding of what it will take to make it happen.
3. Expand your skills, knowledge, and education.
Determine if the field you are trying to break into requires any specific degrees, certifications, or continued education. What skills or training do you need to get the job of your dreams? Whether you’re breaking into technology, engineering, or accounting, most industries have certification programs and resources that can sharpen your skills and enhance your resume. For example, if you want to learn how to code, there are plenty of online boot camps that will teach you the core development skills you’ll need in your next job. Research advanced educational programs online asks friends or mentors for advice, or reach out to a recruiter who can make a program recommendation.
4. Acquire relevant, applicable experience.
You can’t always rely on your work history being viewed as relevant to potential employers in your new career field. Even if the new job you want is related to what you currently do for a living, a hiring manager might not make the connection between the work you’ve done and the position you’re applying for. Hiring managers are often looking for specific experience—show them you’re serious about the transition by taking on some extra projects that demonstrate your ability to be successful in your new line of work. For example, if you’re seeking a career in software development, start contributing to GitHub in relevant programming languages. Build up your portfolio by taking on personal projects that showcase your abilities. And don’t be afraid to take on an internship or volunteer—this can be a great way to get experience or get your foot in the door of a new organization.
5. Maintain a positive attitude and don’t give up!
It’s not uncommon to face some hardship while you’re pursuing a career in a new industry. You may not score your dream job after your first interview, and that’s okay. Remember that you’ll be going up against candidates that might have many years of experience. Be prepared to work hard and fail without losing your enthusiasm. Stay motivated by revisiting your goals and use each encounter as a learning opportunity.
6. Network, network, network!
One of the most important steps to take when pursuing a new job is to put yourself out there and meet people in the industry. Attend a meet-up, go to a conference, join a networking group to expand your knowledge and identify the skills you need to acquire. Have conversations with thought leaders, peers, and colleagues to tell your story and learn about potential job opportunities. Remember that you’ll get out of it as much as you put into it, so be bold, introduce yourself to new people, and ask insightful questions to make a lasting impression.
7. Work with a recruiter.
Recruiting agencies, especially one that is as well connected as VanderHouwen, can be a big help when it comes to navigating a job change. From advising you on what specific skills you need to acquire to making certification and education recommendations, recruiters know what hiring managers are looking for. We can help candidates figure out where to invest their time and can introduce you to connections in the industry. Recruiters can facilitate the entire job application process, from preparing your resume, to prepping you for the interview, to negotiating an offer. Meet your recruiter in-person and share the work you’ve been putting into making the transition. Ignite confidence in them so they can do the same with the hiring manager!
Switching career paths can be scary. It often involves taking a less senior position or a short-term pay cut as you build the skills you need to succeed in a new industry. While a career transition is no easy feat, if you do your research and prepare yourself, it’s achievable, rewarding, and worth the risk.
Are you looking to transition into a new industry? We can help prepare you with the skills, networking events, and certifications needed to make your career transition a successful one. Connect with us today!