05 Jun Yes, You Can: 5 Steps to Changing Your Career Path
Whether you’re ready to rebound from a layoff or find yourself reflecting on your line of work, you aren’t alone. The numbers show that you’ll have multiple career paths over your lifetime—including different lines of work. Research shows that millennials—who make up the bulk of the workforce—expect to stay in positions for less than three years, and the majority would change careers as their dream job evolves.
Wherever you are in your career, you probably know that making a change isn’t always easy. You’ve built specific skills, expertise, and experience that may not apply to every role, right? Not necessarily. There are ways to make intelligent pivots from one career path to another, and in this blog, we review some straightforward steps to help along the way.
Identify your why to make the right move forward.
To know you’re making the right change, it’s essential to understand what motivates you. Forbes has four questions to identify your why:
- What drives you? Or, in other words, what inspires you? Your purpose may be connected to something bigger than you.
- What are your natural strengths? According to Sir Ken Robinson, you are in your element when your natural talent and skill align with your passion. Being in your element makes you more productive while giving your work more purpose and gratification that oozes into your personal life.
- Where can you add the most value? Of course, doing work you’re good at doesn’t mean you’re fulfilled or challenged. However, knowing your professional superpowers and where you add the most value—applying your existing skills, education, and experience—helps you target lines of work where you can succeed and find the greatest sense of achievement. It’s easy to overgeneralize or minimize your skillset. Instead, look at it from different angles, i.e., how your problem-solving and communication skills can angle you from internal communications to crisis communications and Public Relations.
- How do you measure your success? Pursuing a passion isn’t always economically feasible, but you can find ways to follow the money and your heart. By shifting your perspective about your work or the work you’re seeking, you can transform your day-to-day experience.
Knowing your purpose can help you identify the right career path forward that motivates and drives you while tapping into some of your existing knowledge and experience. Understanding your why is critical to ensure you find a meaningful and rewarding new line of work.
Identify your transferable skills.
It’s easy to get discouraged looking at job requirements with years of experience that don’t align perfectly with yours. You can assess your experience to identify your transferable skills—these are the gems that make you versatile—and the ones you want to highlight when you promote yourself as a capable candidate. Think about your specific experience and the tasks you’ve performed. Next, explore how you achieved those tasks—through which traits. Then looking at outcomes, you can highlight achievements, helping you identify the transferable skills that shine through.
For example, maybe you work as a CRM Specialist, and when diving through your day-to-day, you realize one of your strengths is using platforms to pinpoint demand and project forecasts. It’s critical to practice pitching yourself as someone who can “use the latest platforms and data to help your employer remain competitive.” Ask yourself, how else can I bring value to an employer with these skills? For this example, a move to a Marketing Automation Manager could be the perfect fit to complement your experience with prospecting and client data and your analytical mind.
Tap into your network.
Your professional connections can give your job search a boost—even when you’re looking to take giant career leaps. Reaching out to friends, colleagues, and LinkedIn connections who specialize in the line of work you’re interested in can help you get a feel for what the day-to-day looks like, how your skills can translate, and the learning curve ahead. The right contacts might even be able to introduce you to hiring managers looking for someone with a versatile skillset and open to candidates transitioning into that area. Or you may find someone in your network in your desired line of work who can act as a mentor, helping you identify transferable skills, scoping out the industry dynamics with you, and finding ways you can make a transition.
Outline skills to build.
Whether it’s working with a mentor, taking courses online, or using LinkedIn Learning, Master Class, and YouTube videos—it’s time to outline any skills you need to build or bolster for your career change. Identifying any certifications, classes, and licenses that may be required or making your resume pop is essential. If you can consult your connections or colleagues in the industry, it can make it easier to navigate and make decisions on any front-end investment that may be required to make the leap.
Try it out on the side.
Before you change your personal brand online, you can look to start a side hustle in the area to build experience or reach out to contacts in that field to shadow them and get some hands-on resume-ready experience. Either way, it shows your initiative and allows you to list any relevant experience in the area you already have. These skills will be helpful when you’re ready to update your LinkedIn and resume. You can also start blogging about relevant topics to show your expertise in the area (and add it to your LinkedIn profile for visibility).
A recruiter can help you make the shift.
We are experts in helping you decide how your existing skills can translate to new areas. Staffing Strong represents an extensive roster of employers with new full-time and contract-to-hire roles. Let’s connect. Submit your resume today.
Meet the Author
Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!