How to Transition Into a New Career
By Tascha Halliburton
For the longest time, I thought that becoming an independent film producer was something that I wanted to become. From a child, I remember watching films, and wanting to be involved in the process of making movies for an audience. However over the last couple of months, I began feeling inspired by something else. As a result, I believed that perhaps being in public relations was my true calling.
The decision to change one’s career direction is not as uncommon as one would think. According to CareerAdviceOnline, the average person will change their career about 5-7 times throughout their entire working life. With regard to the current climate of today’s economy, the move to change one’s career has been the answer for a lot of people in today’s tough economic times. Since 2008, the economic recession has forced many Americans to change careers due to a failing economy and job lay-offs. As a result of long-term unemployment, many are forced to make a switch in their careers in order to survive. In a 2012 survey by Rights Management, 84% of people currently in the workforce are thinking about making a career change within the next upcoming years. One of the main reasons for this was that many employees were unsatisfied with their current job positions, and wanted to pursue a career that aligned more with what they were passionate about at their current stage in life.
Like a lot of people, I had spent so much time in a particular career direction, and had worked hard to acquire the skills needed for my chosen career that I felt lost when I wanted to make that leap into a new direction professionally.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your career transition:
Re-Think your Personal Brand
Your personal brand tells potential clients and employers about your personality and talents. In order to transition into a new career, it is necessary for one to rethink their personal brand and to create a new personal brand based upon the new direction that they wish to take professionally.
Research new career
In order for one to make a smooth transition into a new career, it would be wise to take some time to do research on one’s new career. This is an important step to take because one has to make sure that this new career will be satisfying. For example, one should ask themselves, “Does this career fulfill the goals that I have in mind for myself at this current stage of my life?”
Create a plan for your new direction
Be specific in planning for your career transition. Does your new career require further education? If so, what will it cost you financially? How much money should you save for the cost of education needed for your new career? Or, perhaps your new career requires previous work experience related to that career. If so, how will you go about acquiring this work experience? You should write out your plan for your new career direction. Feel free to make necessary changes to your written plan if you find out any new information while in the pursuit of your new career direction.
Transfer your old skills to new career
Perhaps there are skills from your old career that easily transfer into your new career. In my case, when I was pursing becoming a film producer, I fortunately acquired the skills of networking with others in my industry to work with in upcoming projects. With my new career of being in PR, my skills of networking has helped me when it comes to building a list of contacts to call upon for feature articles.
Don’t dump your old friends
You shouldn’t think that just because you are giving up your old career in favor of a new one that your old colleagues or past connections are useless. There’s a chance that some of your old connections have other connections and/or career knowledge related to the industry that you are changing into. Keep in mind that you should update your old connections and/or friends about your new career aspirations to ease any confusion about the new direction that you are about to take. A simple way to do this would be to update your social media site (like LinkedIn) announcing your new career change.
Make new industry connections
By doing a simple search on a social media site like Twitter or LinkedIn, one can easily find working professionals in their new career field. You should definitely take advantage of these sites to connect with those who can perhaps mentor you, or offer you advice about the new industry that you are transitioning into.
Be thankful that you’ve found a new passion and career path to pursue. Embrace your new direction and step in confidence. In the case of unemployment, with a change of career you have the opportunity to flourish in an industry that is growing more rapidly that the previous industry you were in before.
The transition from one career to another whether by choice or to survive an economic crisis is scary no matter the circumstances. I believe that a large part of what is scary about making a career transition is the fear of change. Mark Twain said that “The only person who likes change is a wet baby”. However, with change one has the opportunity to achieve what was not possible before.
Image Via: Coastal Law Career Services