Six Basics to Undertake During a Career Change


On one of the LinkedIn groups I belong to, a question was posted by someone who wants to move into a different career with a different industry. There are a lot of details that go into executing a successful career change plan, which can vary due to the particular situation.

In answering the individual’s question, I provided some basics that are common to any career change:

1. You know the general industry you want to change to, but do you have a sense for what specific area you want to target? That would be the first thing to narrow down. If you are not sure, set up some informational interviews with some folks who are currently working in the areas you are considering. Find out what they love about their jobs and what their worst days are like. (Every job has its downsides, so you want to weigh whether you would be able to deal with the negatives of it.)

2. Once you have selected a particular field, determine what is needed to gain and maintain an edge. The need for continuing education is inescapable: some fields have required continuing education as a condition of staying certified, and others, while not requiring education, have new trends popping up all the time, so you need to keep current. Are there schools nearby that provide the program you need? Or, is this something that can be achieved online?

3. Of the skills you have now, which of them could be transferable to your new career? Identify and document them.

4. Start networking online. Find groups on LinkedIn and Facebook that are in your new field and join them. Find out what they are talking about and add value to the conversation as it pertains. Follow folks on Twitter who are tweeting valuable information and read it. Start strategically retweeting great posts, too.

5. Are there volunteer opportunities available that would allow you to gain experience (even if not in the exact field, in a similar vein)? Not only does this give you something to put on your resume, but it could provide an important reference from the organization’s staff and networking possibilities (perhaps someone in your new chosen field also volunteers there, etc.)

6. Read industry blogs. This will help you gain a sense of what topics are hot and what folks are thinking about them. Make sure you get a good cross-section so that you can read about the different perspectives on a particular topic.

What other general activities would you add to apply to most any career change?

Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee

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