As avant-garde Drake melodically puts it: “Started from the bottom now we’re here.” Admittedly, the song may not be in the list of classics, but there is some truth to the sensational hit. We bust our posteriors, sweat and bleed in order to climb up our individual success ladders, but what if the sight from the top is more nauseating than dizzying. Does changing our careers mid-way mean that we have to start from the bottom all over again? And more importantly, does all our previous effort and struggles amount to nought?
According to Dorie Clark, author of ‘Reinventing you’: “There are ways you can shift jobs or even careers without giving up your professional status. Instead, you can work creatively to transfer it, so that even if you’re starting in a completely different field, you’ll benefit from your years of labour.”
The truth is that the skills you accumulate in a particular field over a period of time, are essentially transferrable. For instance, those like articulation, promptness, managerial and creativeness are the generic skills which are required in every kind of job, no matter the field or position. As a result, the idea of starting from the ‘very bottom’, especially when it comes to career-changing, doesn’t quite ring true in any instance.
However, to alleviate one’s fears regarding the same, here are a few ways by which you can change your career without having to perch back to ground zero, all over again.
“The stronger your network is, the greater the likelihood that you will be able to tap advocates who know and trust you and can make the right introductions to expedite the transition.”- Barbara Safani, Career Coach at Career Solvers.
Having a strong in-built network helps serve two purposes. Firstly, to track professionals hailing from the field you wish to change to and accessibility to their advice on what to expect from the respective field. Secondly, having a big and diversified network will help serve a point in your favour, because it will allow your future employers to think of the many helpful contacts you may bring with you, through your entry into the new field.
“If you have achieved a particular level in one sector, you can repeat it in another. Look for ways to bridge from your current area to the intended one. Think about how the sectors overlap in terms of competencies. Highlight how your achievements are transferable on your resume, LinkedIn profile, and in conversations.”- Emily Kapit, lead career strategist at ReFresh Your Step.
Almost all recorded fields are inter-dependent and inter-joined in one way or another. Hence, there will definitively exist a bridge which connects the two industries, a juncture where the two overlap. This is what you need to target and use to your advantage, when you’re shifting fields. Think of the many ways by which the experience you have procured in your previous field, will work to your benefit in terms of the other – and make those your strong points.
For instance, if you have worked as an HR manager for the most part and now wish to enter the media industry as a media manager, you can use the most basic keyword here – managing people and offering solutions to the same. This will definitely tilt the decision in your favour, despite a defining ‘lack’ of said experience in a new field.
“You really have to do your homework and talk to people who made it big. That’s part of your research process. Ask around! Is it something where you can enter in and be super-industrious, or do you really need to go get training and start at the bottom? And then manage your own expectations accordingly.”- Allison Hemming, CEO of The Hired Guns.
A career change can’t be a mere impulsive decision. You are risking your life’s work, experience, finances and most importantly, your future upon this transition, so you need to make sure that you understand even the smallest consequence. Before you decide to take the leap, spend time researching upon how you can turn this change to your advantage and how you can benefit of it – financially and holistically.