You’ve thought about it a hundred times. Should you do it or should you not? Should you stick with what you know or take the leap towards something new.
And, you’ve decided: it’s finally time for a change, and not just a new job at a better company, but a whole new career in an entirely different industry.
So, now that the decision is final and you’ve set your eyes on the perfect role, how do you make the pivot without starting over? How do you show employers that you have what it takes to succeed in your new industry when you technically have zero to little experience in that particular field?
Change Your Story
So, what is your story? If you want to successfully change careers, you have to change your narrative. To get any position you want, you have to package your experience in a way that resonates with the hiring manager and company. It’s not about flaunting all your experience. It’s about highlighting the most relevant elements of you, including your expertise and qualifications, that will make you an undeniable asset to your new company and role.
This is even more imperative when changing careers, because the accomplishments, jargon, clients and skills you used to boast about in your current industry may not fly with your new industry. You have to create a new brag box that emphasizes your value and showcases the unique perspective you bring from your previous roles and industry.
But to change your story, you have to first know what you bring to the table. This is what we like to call transferable skills. These are the skills that may not look exactly like the skills you need to have for the position you want to do next, but have prepared you to do the role you desire to do next.
Some consider transferable skills to be soft skills, or general skills that everyone needs to be successful, such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, leadership and multitasking.
But to truly stand out, you should take it a step further. Identify the top 3-5 specific skills you need to be successful in the specific position you desire. Then, think about the specific accomplishments in your previous roles that demonstrate your ability to take on the responsibilities in your ideal position.
Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Sure, you’re clear about your next steps and you’ve fixed your resume to perfection. But that’s not enough. To successfully and confidently make the pivot, you have to overcome the mental block that tells you that you’re not qualified enough.
If you’re not careful, imposter syndrome can keep you stagnant and hopeless. But part of re-writing your story is recognizing the qualities and experiences that make you qualified for the role you desire. Sure, you may not feel like you meet 100% of the qualifications you need for your new career, but do you have the grit and determination to figure it out? Are you a fast learner? Do you look at the job descriptions in your new industry and think, “I can do this!” Are comfortable with doing whatever it takes to be successful in your new industry? If the answer is yes, keep going.
Recognize imposter syndrome for what it is: the feeling you’ll always get when you’re stretching yourself past your comfort zone and trying something new. Acknowledge it and move forward anyway.
Look for a Roadmap
There has to be someone else in this world who’s made the change you’re looking to make from the industry you’re looking to leave. Tap into your network of contacts and ask around for people who’ve made the pivot.
If you don’t have a robust network, become best friends with LinkedIn and search for people in your new industry who have experience in your current industry. For instance, are you looking to make the leap from healthcare to tech, from sales to marketing or from accounting to HR? You can’t be the only one who’s had the guts to make the move, so sift through people’s job descriptions on LinkedIn until you find a match. Then, hunt down their email address and reach out to them to chat or meet for coffee.
Connecting with someone who’s walked the same path you aspire to embark on will only fuel your passion even more and will empower you with insightful tips on how to make the transition.
Making a career change is a lot harder, and much more terrifying, than simply leaving one company for a new one in the same industry. But by taking these first steps, you’ll have a much easier time conveying why you’ll be a great fit for the role you desire in your new field.