How to Manage Your Career Change

The other day I read an article about how Millennials are changing the job market by job/career-hopping more than the previous generations.

The article spoke to how this can be beneficial or detrimental to both organizations and job seekers alike, which I agree with. As I move through a semi-recent career change myself, I have quickly learned there are challenges in which I have to swallow my pride to overcome.

Although I have had days in which it felt like I was running to catch up to my career counterparts, I wouldn’t change any of it. My first career provided me with a lot of skills that I would have never developed had I started with HR. One of my most valuable lessons in culinary school was a simple one - no chef is too good to do their own dishes.

Sound like an applicable analogy to identify good and bad managers in your office job? I have also found, on more than one occasion, that my fellow second (or third) career, co-workers ended up being some of the most dynamic (and successful) managers and employees. Why? Because they think differently. It doesn’t make them better or worse, just different. And in a time where innovation is everything, different makes sense.

So what’s the downside of changing careers?

So far I have found for myself that the hardest part is being okay with starting lower on the chain. Depending on your level of your previous career, the transition can become a lateral one. I encourage my clients to pursue lateral changes if possible. However, moving laterally into a different career is not the case for many people in entry-level to mid-level positions. 

The reality is employers want (and pay for) experience. As we have mentioned before, this is why we focus so heavily on transferable skills during a career change. By having transferable skills, you have a good chance of demonstrating why you might be the right fit for that lateral move. 

Another thing you can do to manage your career change is to begin networking with people in the industry or field you want to be in. Attending free seminars or industry events is a great way to do this. Additionally, start reading up on articles or following people on LinkedIn that are key players in the field. If you are going back to school, utilizing their job posting boards (like Handshake) and career services to track down potential employers.

By emphasizing your transferable skills and starting your career conversation by networking early, you can increase your chance of landing a lateral position during your career change.