You hear a lot these days about “hot jobs” – jobs are in increasing demand. You also hear a lot about jobs that have disappeared forever. If you were working in a field that is no longer flourishing, or if you simply want to move into a different profession that better fits you, you will need to prepare yourself for a career transition.
Step One: Understand Your Skills
Understanding your skills is quite different from knowing what you’ve done in the past. Skills are the talents and abilities you use to complete activities successfully. Separating your skills from the actual work that you have done is important because it allows you to view capabilities that can be transferred to other jobs and fields.
A print ads account manager’s skills may be accuracy, relationship building, and ability to drive sales. He may also have competency with certain types of software systems or particular industries. All of this makes him a good print ads account manager, but it may also make him good at other things.
Step Two: Determine Where Those Skills are Valued
It can be challenging to picture our core skills being used in new and unfamiliar fields. Research jobs that are predicted to be in demand, considering the skills required and where you might be a match. Or, dig into a domain for which you have a passion, such as working with non-profit organizations, customer service or technology, and consider ways your skills and knowledge are being used in those areas. Come up with a list of new job titles and areas where your skills and knowledge would be valued.
Step Three: Create a Connection from Past to Future
To move into a new job title or area, you will need to concretely connect your past experience to the future job. Going back to our print ads account manager, let’s say he decides his skills of accuracy, relationship building and ability to drive sales would be valued in the online marketing business. He will need to demonstrate how those skills and his past successes promise future value in the new business. He may say “My relationship with clients and ability to see their needs and how we can meet them allowed me to increase sales by 80% last year. My account management and pricing experience prepared me perfectly to take on managing online marketing affiliate programs. I have demonstrated my ability to solve problems for clients and increase company revenue.” Experiment with creating connections and demonstrating how your past successes promise future value in a new capacity.
Step Four: Fill Gaps
As you create that connection from past to future, you may discover gaps. There may be a skill, certification or proficiency that is a requirement for the new area. Be realistic and make a plan for filling any gaps. You may also find you can enter the new job area at a slightly lower level and quickly experience and move up. It is not uncommon to start a new career path at a level lower than where you were previously. It can pay off quickly if you are targeting an area that is predicted to grow in the future and immersing yourself to soak up everything you can learn.
It is exciting to grow into a new field and develop a new career path. Your upfront due diligence can help you eliminate risks and unknowns and give you a strong beginning to re-launching your career.