Gone are the days when people stayed at their jobs for 15-20 years or even more. According to The Balance, the average person now changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career. If you were to do the math, that means on average, a new job every 3 years, that’s staggering! In the past, people picked one career path and stuck with it until retirement and that’s why for many us, our parents are still doing the same thing for as long as you’ve known them. In this day and age, there are so many options to choose from and the fact that you would feel dissatisfied or the need to change jobs at multiple points in your life is very OK. Did you know that 6 in 10 millennials are always open to different job opportunities?
You’ve probably heard the saying, you should live to work and not work to live. The former in my opinion means that life should always come first before work. We are destined to be bigger than ourselves so selecting a job that works for whatever period you are in life is key. In order for you to do well, being in the right frame of mind is very important.
Career switching can take very many forms and reasons like higher pay, career advancement, work-life balance, more interesting work, relocation and many others all contribute to career switching. For some, career switching simply means moving from one company to another, but keeping the same core function. In my opinion, this is the simplest job movement and requires the least effort. You simply update your resume, look for networks within the company you are interested in and make your move.
A different career switch is when you do a complete 180 and move to a completely new job function and in a completely new industry. This tends to be one of the toughest moves and is the one I hear my friends struggle with the most. How do I move from consulting to tech? How do I signal in my resume that I have relevant experience even though not from that industry? Or the more classic one, how do I move from a non-traditional background like non-profit to business or tech? Am sure many of you can relate to this.
The process for this type of movement is not easy. Some of my friends that have gone through it talk about grinding and looking for jobs for 4-8 months before they were successful in landing that new job; and these are ALL very smart people. It’ll require a lot of work on your resume, a lot of learning and a lot networking within the industry you are looking to get into. So what should you do if you’re looking to make such a move?
- First, your resume will need to reflect the lingo and experience in that field. Start by reviewing sample resumes within the industry you’re looking to move into. Find the commonalities. You will be surprised that you have experiences that can speak to these commonalities. For example, if you are a consultant looking to move into tech, I bet you have a ton of experience working with clients, understanding their needs and crafting solutions that solve their needs. That’s very similar to what product marketers do. As a product marketer in tech, I am constantly talking to customers, understanding their needs and communicating how our product solves their problems. Pretty similar, right! So start tweaking your resume and remember to speak the lingo within that industry.
- Next, start reading material from the industry you are interested in. Identify the top websites in your desired industry and start perusing them daily. What this does is start getting you up-to-speed on current news and is honestly a good way to know whether this is really the thing you want to do. Being informed can also come in very handy during networking and eventually during your interview. Recruiters love candidates who are knowledgeable about their industry, their company and their products – I guarantee you, it goes a long way.
- Finally, identify people within your network you can talk to – those who are doing exactly what you are interested in. Do your homework, reach out to them, do informational interviews with them. Let them introduce you to people in their network that you can talk to and learn from. What this does is educate you even more on the industry and the role. It’ll also not feel awkward when later you send them your resume to have them forward it to someone within their department or company that is hiring. These individuals can easily speak to your skills and experience in a genuine way and will definitely put in a good word for you.
Interestingly, this stress that we constantly experienced and heard our friends talk about while looking or simply exploring career options is what really got us thinking about AdviceMavens. We simply want to help people feel empowered to be and do whatever they want in life. So yes, when you are thinking of career switching or making your next move, don’t be afraid, simply do it!
Author: Anita Kibunguchy
Anita Kibunguchy is a co-founder for AdviceMavens and has an MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management. She currently focuses on awareness and go-to-market strategies for a Fortune 500 B2B data center and cloud solutions company. In her spare time, she loves to hike, cook and host friends & family! Follow her on Twitter @kibuanita