There will likely be several times throughout your career when you should reassess your professional goals. In fact, 64 per cent of American workers say they are looking for new job opportunities or will consider moving jobs if approached by another company, according to a study conducted earlier this year.
Whether you feel unfulfilled at your current 9-to-5 (for some 8-midnight, 100% on call) or you’re looking to jump industries, taking the leap is always easier said than done. For over 20 years, I worked in leadership roles for some of the biggest brands in the world. Then a couple of years ago, I decided to venture out on my own to start my business, Rebellious Beverage Company, a highly functional beverage infusion. This was not an easy decision to say the least. I understand all too well the stress, nerves, and self-doubt that you will face — a career change is rarely every smooth. So, if you’re thinking about applying for a new position in a completely different field or starting a new entrepreneurial venture, here are some tips to help you get started confidently.
Remember, you’ve done this before.
While the idea of starting a new career can be daunting, you aren’t entirely starting from scratch. You’ve got experience and skills that you’ve developed throughout the years that you can leverage. Understanding and building on what you know can help you tremendously, no matter what you decide to do.
For example, if you’ve worked in sales or retail, you’re likely well-versed in client relations and customer service. If you’ve ever worked in the accounting field, you’ll understand the fundamentals of budgets, revenues, net profits, and corporate taxes. Don’t underestimate your knowledge and experience.
Build on your expertise.
Regardless of how you plan on measuring success in this new career path, you can never go wrong with building your resume based on your interests and what you know best. Refer to your career history as a report card. Highlight how you’ve developed your skills and where your experience has taken you to potential employers, partners, or investors. Prove that you want this career change and that you’ve successfully prepared for it. Have great examples that transcend across industries and ladder up to what you are targeting.
Show your value.
Whether it’s the interview process, meetings with potential investors, or pitching your products in a sales meeting, your strategy should focus on what you can bring to the table. It’s all about differentiating yourself and explaining what makes you unique.
Rather than going over why you would be capable of this new career path, emulate your energy, your skills, history, and experience. Remember, think how and not why.
Leverage your passion and drive.
In order to be successful, you need to have a sincere passion for starting something new and a firm belief in what you’re doing. If you ask me, a career has a lot to do with hitting your personal goals and living your best life. Ask yourself, “Am I happy?” and “Am I determined?”
Bringing the right energy to hiring managers to that first meeting or forming your messaging in the earlier startup stages are crucial. It’s all about first impressions. If you’re not excited, why should anyone else be?
Stay true to yourself.
Be honest with yourself about the level of risk you can or can’t absorb. Narrow down the pros and cons and ask yourself whether the payoff of making a career change is worth the challenges that come with it. While feeling uncertain and nervous is normal, you should be confident that this leap aligns with your long-term priorities and values.
Whether you plan to switch fields or start a business, you’ll need to prepare yourself with realistic expectations. Do the legwork; it’s important to do a lot of research to understand what you’re getting yourself into. Talk to people in the roles you want to be in and get their insights. Reward comes with (calculated) risk, so don’t be afraid to make the leap if you feel it could bring you the fulfilment and joy you’re looking for.