Three Tips For Making A Switch To A New Field

As you progress through your career, your interests and goals will likely change. Maybe the long hours and traveling you relished early in your career are now taking their toll. Perhaps you feel as if the skills you’ve developed would be better utilized elsewhere. With new opportunities appearing every day, you may be interested in trying something new and transitioning to a new field. But how do you go about finding something in a field that may be foreign to you? Here are four tips that will help things go smoothly:

Consider Where You Fit In

Making a jump to a new field doesn’t necessarily mean that you are jumping to a new type of job. Most of the time you are going to be considering a lateral move, meaning that you’ll still be doing roughly the same job, but in a different environment. If you have a marketing background and want to break into the science field, you won’t be looking to become a microbiologist, you’ll be looking at joining their marketing department. Most companies are willing to train experienced candidates on industry specifics and nuances.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t consider jobs that are outside of your current sphere. Skills are transferrable, so you may find that what you have learned in your current line of work is also relevant to a position in a different field.

Use Your Network To Identify Opportunities

While identifying the type of jobs you want to apply for can be fairly easy, finding these jobs can certainly be more challenging. It’s not just looking for jobs in a field you aren’t used to, it’s also that a staggering 80% of open jobs will not show up on job boards. This is where having a solid network is crucial. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or just someone you casually connected with on LinkedIn, having someone in the field who can help you navigate your job search is vital, especially if they can refer you to a job firsthand. Even if they can’t set you up with a direct interview, they will be able to give you valuable information on where to find job openings, how to best apply, and even how to handle interviews and follow-ups.

Think Long-Term (i.e. Be Flexible) 

Growing in your career can sometimes mean taking one step backwards in order to take three steps forward later on. You may be able to find a job in a new field that gives you everything you want (and even more), but you may also need to be flexible to get your foot in the door. If you are passionate about breaking into a new field, it’s good to consider jobs that may seem like a step down from your current role, especially if they have a trajectory that will benefit you long-term. This may mean losing your current title or even taking a slight pay cut, but if it’s something that you can live with, and it rejuvenates your passion for work, then, for the time being, it is a worthwhile short-term sacrifice that puts on a path to greater long-term success.

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