Here are a couple of career change tips that may help you when you are planning a big career change into a new industry. Perhaps you have completed some studies or are changing careers as a result of recognising your true career goals. Maybe something has gone wrong in the original career you chose, or the economy has forced you to make a change. Whatever the reason, you need to make yourself known in the new industry, and to do this you need to be strategic.
Career Change Tip #1: Targeted networking
Networking is the key to making a successful career change. This sort of networking has two fundamental goals:
- Make good contacts within the industry
- Find out about the industry from an insider’s perspective
- Get inside information about jobs that are already available, but perhaps not advertised, or job that may become available in the near future.
How can you do this?
- Join LinkedIn and set up your profile if you haven’t already done so.
- Join the professional level of LinkedIn, inexpensive, and definitely worth the money for the connections it can give you.
- Join a few groups directly related to your professional interests and start making some pertinent comments within the group so they know you are there.
- Read the profiles or organisations that you think you might be interested in working for (through Google or direct to specific websites) then on LinkedIn look for high-level executives or HR people from these organisations and contact them directly to see if you can have a chat with them.
- Look for business magazines and professional journals and use these for additional research, profiles, etc.
- If you are an older worker, visit our sister site Boomers Next Step for many career change tips aimed specifically at the issues of mature age workers.
Career Change tip #2: Informational interviewing
- Contact people respectfully and appropriately through LinkedIn, journals, or through anyone you know (e.g. friends of friends) who work within the industry or companies that interest you. I emphasize “respectfully and appropriately.”
- Don’t approach them with the intention of applying for a job, but rather with the attitude of asking to talk to them about the reality of their industry and their advice about getting the sort of work that you are considering. Make it very clear to them that you aren’t looking for a job just seeking their expertise and opinion about breaking into the industry, so do it before you are seriously job-hunting. Don’t expect to get more than 15 minutes of their time.
- End on a really positive note and send them a note or an email to say thanks for their time.
These strategies may feel foreign to you initially, but stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing change is important to the success of your career change.
Let me know how you go. I’d love to hear about your successes through targeted networking and informational interviewing.
For many more career change tips join our ClarityCareerManagement Facebook group.