In my 25+ years of career, I have made many transitions to different roles, jobs and industries. Career transition can be nerve wracking, but if done well, it can be very rewarding.
Here are a few tips on how to successfully transition your career.
1. Validate purpose
Check why you want to transition to a different <role, job or industry>
If you have good enough reasons, then move to the next step.
Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.
Also, the grass is always greener on the other side.
A well though-out plan can reduce risks of unknown in a new career.
Add a timeline to your plan. A timeline can make your plan measurable and can give a direction to your goal.
Remember that plans are nothing, planning is everything.
3. Get a mentor
A good mentor can make your career journey smooth by sharing their experience and by exposing your blind spots.
They can drive, guide and inspire you.
A mentor can also help you stay afloat when stress and anxiety try to pull you down.
4. Get skilled
Read, study, learn!
Take classes, attend webinars, watch videos, listen to podcasts, read books,…
Do everything that enhances your skill level in your aspired career.
While you won’t become the best in short term, you’ll become really good.
5. Note your current skills
When changing careers, people worry that they don’t have skills.
We all have transferable skills. You may be great at networking or speaking, or writing or collaborating etc.
Employers need these skills in their staff. Add these to your resume.
6. Get experience (while in transition)
Here are some ideas:
– Do side projects/ freelancing
– Do pro-bono work for a friend
– Find an internship
– Offer free work to a start-up
– Join a crowdsourcing group
Add these to your resume.
All of these show that you’re passionate.
7. Network like hell
They say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Ideas for networking:
– Go to local industry events (meetups, conferences, exhibitions..)
– Attend online events
– Join online forums (must add value to those)
– Connect with experienced folks online
8. Be open and ask for help
If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
What’s the worst that can happen? Someone would say no to you. That’s it!
Harry Potter book was rejected numerous times too.
Ask for entry level roles, internships or paid projects (depending on your situation).
9. Last, but not the least, be patient.
Changing career direction can take time. It’s a slow process.
Effort, perseverance and patience with good planning are the right ingredient for success.