Your existing skills are far more valuable than you think. When changing careers, this is an incredibly huge asset. Learn how not to start from zero.
Changing careers can be a scary transition period for many people because it is uncharted territory. The thought of leaving your current job and taking a leap of faith into the unknown is paralyzing, but then again that’s why only the bravest of people do it.
But, it doesn’t have to be so scary? What if I told you that you don’t have to change your whole life and start from the bottom? There are many ways to begin an exciting new career without going back to where you were when you first started out.
1. Give it a Go
You want to move into a new career, and that’s great, but how do you do that? To prevent having to go back to school or take additional lessons, give your new career test run. Try to imagine yourself in your new job, and think about what you will be doing on a day-to-day basis. When you do that, start behaving like you are already in your new career to help yourself prepare for it.
So, let’s say you want to get into sales? Then dress the part and be a proper salesman. This should help you find out if you have made the right choice.
2. Do Your Research
Before you start looking for a job in another field, find out what’s required from you. Ask yourself ‘what do I need to succeed in this career’ and ‘what are the steps I need to take’ to gain the knowledge and experience you need to excel. Read books, browse the internet, work shadow a person in your desired position and join LinkedIn Groups where you can exchange advice with other professionals in the field.
3. Connect With People
When changing careers, having a network of people is essential. They can help you take the next step and introduce you to key contacts in your desired industry. The more people you know in the field, the easier it will be for you to establish yourself as an experienced professional without having to start over. And with networking becoming so easy due to tools such as LinkedIn there is no excuse not to be doing it.
4. Show Your Existing Skills
What if you lack experience in your new career? Even without getting training, you can invest in your existing skills and move forward. Apart from medicine (and other highly specialised professions), most career fields are relatively easy to get into with some reading and work on your behalf. You just have to find the relevance between what you have already done - e.g. transferable skills - and what you are planning to do next, and make this connection clear to employers.
When changing careers, there is no need to start from the bottom again. You have already equipped yourself with most of the skills you need, so the key is to continue to invest in them.
Have you ever changed careers? How did you do it and what was it like for you? Let me know in the comments section below…