Making a career change is a bold move no matter how many years of experience you have under your belt. Some are luckier than others in that they find something rather quickly, and some just continue to soldier on, despite being exhausted with the tough search. Sometimes, out of frustration, people can just think twice about whether or not to make this change altogether and end up just sticking to the field they’ve established themselves in and forget about pursuing the change. There are also those that have no choice but to switch to a different field or industry because of these unprecedented times.
As one of those still looking for an opportunity, I can’t deny the fact of how challenging it is. Such change really is a test of resilience and patience as hundreds of rejection letters can really be a downer, but here are some points that have helped me remain focused on the end-goal:
Be open and ready for change
According to the United States Department of Labor, people on average make a career change between three to seven times in their life. This is personally a comforting thing to know as it reinforces the fact that it’s acceptable to make big changes in one’s life, especially if a previous job has made them stagnant or feel unfulfilled. Everyone most probably has heard the line “change is the only constant”, and with careers and making changes, it definitely is something that can be uncomfortable. It’s healthy to acknowledge the discomfort you may feel but also don’t forget to demonstrate your agility in your CV and how you present yourself to new organizations that you could potentially be a part of. Equally, according to Forbes, “If you’re targeting big names (e.g., Google, Apple)… figure out the best stepping stones, research where your ultimate target companies hire from, who their key vendors are or the peripheral markets they do business with, and start there. This will give you experience, contacts and credibility, while also moving you closer to your final goal” (Graham, 2019).
Leave your ego at the door
Changing careers can easily mean having to take a pay cut or go a few levels down in terms of position on the corporate ladder. If you think of the bigger goal of where you want to be, corporate titles are only titles at the end of the day. Given that you’re making a big change, there’s a lot to learn in the new industry or field you’ve decided you want to get into. There’s a lot of room for growth and opportunity to feel a lot more fulfilment with all the learning and new skills you’ll acquire with a job title that may be lower than your previous role. Figure out as well what it’s going to take for you to excel in the role you want to land. If that means earning new certifications or licenses, then time and effort should go into gaining these new skills and knowledge.
Shift your brand
How you represent yourself and come across to others is your personal brand. Making a career change requires you to change your brand as this is the new image you want employers to receive. It has to be obvious and consistent how your brand is displayed across all supporting documents and platforms: your CV, your LinkedIn profile, Indeed.com profile, and your cover letter.
Establish a connection with the right people
If you want to enter a new industry or field, it’s highly valuable for your growth and transition into this new challenge to gain the insight of people working within that new field of interest. The best way to establish a connection in the first instance is to pay them a compliment or point out what you found interesting in their company or what the latest interesting project launched is all about, etc. It’s important to show inquisitiveness and curiosity because this communicates that you’re hungry to learn, as well as having an admirable and humble attitude towards the new field you want to get into.
Whatever phase you’re at in your journey of finding the right job in the right industry, it’s key to always keep track of the progress you’ve made, so as to not lose focus and motivation in going for what you really want.
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