Changing Careers in a Changing World

August 6, 2013


Despite the current economic climate, changing careers today is not as extraordinary as you might think. A recent study conducted by DBM revealed that one-in-two people who find themselves in career transition, change industry or job function successfully.

The biggest challenge to changing careers is identifying your transferable skills and then learning how to package them to appeal to an employer in a different industry. The larger the gap between the experience requirements of your current industry and the new one, the harder it becomes to make the switch and the more compromises you must be willing to make. The stronger your skills are and the broader your knowledge base is, though, the more credibility you will have and the easier it will be to make the change.
When contemplating a career change, keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Plan for a longer job search. Changing industries requires research, which requires time. Assess your financial situation and make realistic decisions. You may have to consider an interim position or part-time work to bridge to your new career.
2. Stay grounded in reality. Successful career change is based on setting realistic goals, making an honest assessment of your skills, and then matching those against the current market conditions.
3. Network, network, network. Networking is the key to any successful job search, especially in the case of a career change. The most effective way to transfer skills to a new field or new career is by using your contacts. Companies are more willing to take risks on people who are referred to them by individuals who can account for the candidates’ abilities and potential.
4. Learn the language. Every field has its own culture and language. Assess your skill set and align it with industry needs. Then translate your skills into language that resonates within that industry.
5. Learn the business. Professionals today are expected to have an understanding of their industry – current issues and challenges faced. Read every article you can find on the industry, so that you can leverage your skills in offering solutions to industry challenges and demonstrate the value you would add to an organization.

Making an industry or career change is not impossible, but it will increase your job search time and the amount of research you have to do to be successful. Before you make any firm decisions, consider the positives and negatives carefully and seek advice from knowledgeable friends and colleagues, so that you can be sure you are willing to make the commitment necessary for success.