The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t track career changes as part of its extensive data, but that doesn’t stop career experts from talking about their prevalence. One common number that you might see is that the average person goes through seven careers in a lifetime.
You may not change careers seven times in your life, but the reality is that many of us will change careers at least once. Taking the leap and jumping into a new field can be both intimidating and stressful – and landing a job in your new field can be particularly challenging in today’s job market. One of the biggest challenges associated with changing careers is convincing recruiters that you are serious about your move, and aren’t simply “dabbling” in a change. Reduce the challenge and set yourself up for success in your new career with these four keys for changing careers and breaking into a new industry:
- Constantly look for education opportunities. Many colleges offer certificate programs in new fields of study, and they often take significantly less time to complete than a full bachelor’s or master’s degree. You’ll be taking high-level courses with industry experts, and you’ll simultaneously be expanding your network within your new field. Experts often also speak at civic events and local libraries, sharing industry knowledge and insights – be sure to read local business publications and blogs to see what relevant speakers will be speaking in your area. Then, be sure to attend, take notes and ask questions!
- Get out and volunteer. Depending on your specific town, there are dozens to hundreds (or more) of nonprofit organizations in dire need of volunteers. Volunteer positions offer an incredible opportunity to gain real world, on-the-job experience, plus, board members and other volunteers are typically experienced professionals in their fields. The results you generate during your volunteer opportunity are also prime opportunities to impress potential employers! You typically won’t be paid for volunteer work, but you’ll be gaining experience and generating real results – items that boost your resume and increase your hireability when meeting with potential employers.
- Start writing. Once you’ve started learning more about your new field and gaining experience through volunteer work, write about what you’re doing and learning. Recruiters will do an internet search for information about you once they’ve received your resume. What will recruiters find about you? You’re working hard to gain knowledge and experience in your new field – writing about it ensures recruiters will find information that demonstrates knowledge in your new field and positions you as someone with experience and savvy. Sites like Tumblr and WordPress offer free and easy-to-use tools for posting blogs – sign up and start writing about your new career.
- Get involved with networking groups (local and online). In just about any career blog you’ll see tips about networking. It really is critical in any job search, but it’s particularly important when you’re changing careers. Most local papers list business networking meeting times and locations, and you can also search meetup.com for a list of networking groups in your area. Get out there, talk to people, meet people in your and other fields, and ask them questions. Ask about how they got into their role, what it takes to succeed in their fields, and what advice they might give someone making a career transition. Fortify those relationships by connecting on LinkedIn, then join relevant LinkedIn groups (and groups relevant to your new area of specialty) to see what advice and topics people in similar situations are discussing. You’ll not only gain critical insight into how to make a career change, you’ll keep building that network of contacts. The value in an expanded professional network is incredible!
The last way to help land a job in your new industry? Partner with a staffing firm! Here at Helpmates, we work with some of the top employers in Southern California. We help professionals like you reach their career goals every day. Search our currently available jobs in Southern California or contact us directly to take the next step in your career.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Stuart Miles