I had the opportunity to start a new career in a new industry. It reminded me that many others are looking to find jobs in a new career. Below are tips to help others who want to create a re-career plan of their own.
The start of this blog, back in 2018, began as an attempt to document my experiences related to job searching and being unemployed. I wanted to capture my thoughts as a job-searcher and as a career educator without an in-person audience. Over the past couple of weeks, I have thought about what I could document, since both of these identities no longer apply.
In my new role, I teach job searching tips to marginalized people who face barriers to employment. And I get to teach. both in-person and online. I am lucky that my strengths and my values have aligned with an organization that serves the at-risk in our community. It’s a fit that has not caused any problems. Which is a challenge when you’re a storyteller and writer!
As a writer, I know that great stories emerge from places of conflict. Right now, I am grateful I don’t have this same sense of conflict. But it hasn’t made it easy to brainstorm what to write!
Until I made the connection that I wrote my blog about my job search journey, I was at a loss of what to write once I found a job!
When I began my new job at the start of June 2021, I began on the first day helping the senior leadership prepare our accreditation documents. This has allowed me to dive deep into the processes and philosophies of this new industry and organization. And what occurred to me felt worth sharing in this first post-new career blog post: How do you re-start a career in a new industry? What tips will help with the transition?
Have a Re-Career Plan
While some of us can find longevity in our first career, others may need to find a new career in a job that may be different altogether. Even though my career in higher education was technically in a non-profit organization, their institutional cultures and accountability structures could not be more different. So my plan to move on from higher education had to be deliberate and purposeful. The experts also agree that having a re-career plan can help those who are looking to change careers from one industry to another.
I began my job search three years ago with the intention to stay in my former field in higher education. But after a protracted job search, it became more clear that I needed to expand my criteria for jobs that would fulfill me. I chose to think about jobs that aligned with my values and my strengths. While I would like to think that the job I found was one I intended to find, the truth is that the work more closely aligned with how I saw myself in the workplace.
I was so proud of myself when I was offered a new job that closely aligned with my personal values and strengths!
That the work was in a nonprofit is doing amazing work in my community is a bonus. So sometimes our career plans can focus more on the work we want to do rather than the job title or organization type. But I know I found this job because I started with realistic goals on what I wanted to do (and what I did not want to do).
Create a Transition Action Plan
Madeline Burry, from The Balanced Careers, shares, “Once you identify your ideal job, your next step is to come up with a plan for how to get it. You’ll need to engage with real-world considerations (think: monthly bills, your kids’ schools, etc.) to ensure that your dream career is realistic based on your existing responsibilities.
Identify Your Current Skills
List out all your skills and abilities. What skills and talents do you possess, and how then applied to your new field?
Remember, as a seasoned worker, you’re in luck. Many of the skills employers seek out the most are transferable. Unlike an entry-level employee, you’re not starting from scratch. If you have worked in television production, for instance, but want to move to human resources, your interpersonal skills, as well as problem-solving abilities, and a knack at juggling tasks and managing personalities, can be tremendously helpful.
Identify the Skills You Need to Have
Next, look at job postings for the position you want to have. What requirements are listed? Remember, you don’t need to have every requirement listed on a job posting to apply—but there are some that are often deal-breakers:
- You may need to take a class or get a degree.
- You may need to take a salary cut and start at a lower-level position than the one you’re at currently.
- Or, you may need to think of creative ways to add experience to your resume, such as taking on a volunteer position that allows you to learn new skills.
Use all of this information to create a timeline and to-do list for your transition to new work—this may involve taking classes, volunteer work, informational interviews, or other steps.
One great way to learn new skills in a new career is to volunteer any time you can practice the skill – ask your network if they would let you practice your new skills in a real-world setting, to help with your interviews.
I can attest that doing activities that teach you new skills (for me, it was blogging and learning SEO content development), even as a hobby, can be useful during an interview. I found myself talking about this blog in my interview, a skill the nonprofit needed but didn’t add to the job description. Being more than the skills identified were where my previous work history made me an ideal candidate.
Next Steps: How to Navigate the First 30 Days in a New Career
The next entry will detail how you can navigate your new job in a new career during the first 30 days. I look forward to sharing my journey with all of you, with tips and tricks that have helped me manage recent life changes. Feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section for others to use and put into good practice!
And good luck to everyone who is making a choice to re-career, or has found themselves needed to re-career. I know you can do it!
Need Someone To Help You Out?
Developing a re-career plan for your job search can be stressful. It can help to have someone to talk to about your current strategies and to brainstorm ways to better meet your goals.
Do what you can while you can. And if you need someone to talk to, schedule a meeting with me online to discuss some of your job-search strategies!