How to change career, transfer skills and create a new network

10-Jul-2019

Changes in life happen. Sometimes we realize, mid-life, that the career path we had chosen is not giving us the happiness we imagined. Sometimes we just can't think of going on doing our current job any longer, and we need to understand how to change career and get to do something we really like.

Changing careers often implies that the skills and experience you have in your current occupation won't be the same and you’ll need to be qualified for the next one. There may be some overlapping, but there are certainly some skills required by the other career that you don’t have yet, at least not at a professional level.

A career change also implies that you are abandoning the natural advancement path of your current career, to do something different. When you change career, you will start the new one at a more junior level than you were in your previous. You may even be entry-level for that sector.

Because of this, changing careers is hard. It usually requires retraining, and probably a pay cut, at least until you can advance to a more senior level. Many people don’t change careers because of this. You have to know what you really want to make this kind of change.

If the answer is positive, then start by taking an inventory of your transferable skills. Determine how your transferable skills can benefit a potential new employer, and then provide tangible examples of how you’ve demonstrated those skills in the past.

Include how your past employers have benefited from your efforts, and use numbers and figures where you can to quantify those benefits. This is ultimately what potential employers want to see. By seeing what you’ve done for your past employer, they assume you can do the same for me. Show them how your skills can help them increase their revenue, save them money, or save them time.

You’ll also want to organize your CV in a way that brings the things most relevant to the potential job up to the top of it while incorporating the same keywords from the job ad. There are tricks to organizing your CV in a way to make it more relevant to the reader’s needs.

Then, you could use some tips for mind mapping your network: look into your network. Mind-map it, separate your mind-map in 4 different categories:

 

  1. Personal
  2. Clients
  3. Business Partners (further separated in past, current and future)
  4. Future contacts
  5. Eventual relevant others (coworkers, other students, if you are a student, etc).


Now, for each category, write a few names that come immediately to your mind, that you have a good relationship with. When you finish that, ask yourself if each of the people you wrote remind you of someone else that you know. Put them in the right category. Maybe a friend reminds you of another friend, a person that you worked with reminds you of another person. Now ask yourself if every category reminds you of another category. Slowly the mind-map will start expanding. You know hundreds of people that can help you get a job that you love.

Now categorize them, not in terms of the relevance to the job you are looking for: that would be ineffective because you would be forgetting about a huge number of people that can help. Categorize them in terms of the level of trust you have established in each relation, that is also a measure of the strength of your relationship, rating each from 1 to 4, being “1” the strongest relation, “2” the good relations, “3” the neutral and “4” the ones you have some issues to solve first.

Once you have that mind-map in front of you, the time has come to put it to good use. Find all the people that you have a strong relationship with. Contact them to schedule a call, to go for a coffee or a lunch.
Once you are with them, discuss your current situation and what you are looking for. Identify the two areas that you would love to work in and you are good at and only communicate to them that you're interested in positions for those areas, or if they know someone who has a knowledge of the area/industry to recommend you.

Now, look at the number “2” relation. Usually, people have a lot more relations tagged “2” than “1”, so many that to meet and talk with each one of them would take a lot of time. In this case, you can send them a quick email to explain your situation and ask them if they can help you in any way, either by information or introduction.

Now, check all the relations tagged as “3”. Since the relation here is weaker, you need to ask them to do something really simple, like give you a name or LinkedIn link in the area you want to work in.

You could end up having several interviews to do, and the more you make, the more confidenct you will get, raising also the quality of your responses.

If your dream career is in media, check all the newest open media sales jobs and which skills and knowledge are required.

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