Career Transition

 A career transition can be challenging if you have not thought through the steps to making the change...

As technologies advance and companies adjust their strategy, more than ever it is important for you to develop your skills and build on what you have. Learning should be a life-long activity that is part of who you are. The goal for all of us is to be relevant in the coming years and the only way to do this is to be strategic about the direction you are heading in and the skills you are acquiring. Contrary to what some might believe, completing a degree or certification is not the end of learning but actually the beginning of next steps for you. By accepting that learning is part of your lifestyle, you can stay ahead of the curve to give yourself choices for how you want to work. Learning a new skill or enhancing existing skills don't have to be a separate engagement. You can take an approach that will allow you to integrate the transition seamlessly if you do your homework before taking action.

Here are some quick tips 
for determining a plan to get started:

  • What will it take to accomplish your goal?
    Assess where you are and where you want to be. Be realistic about what you can take on while you work towards your new career. Capture three actions you can start now to define your plan. Answer the hard questions so you can make the right decisions for your career path.

  • Who can give you a real job preview to help you determine if this is what you really want? Find a job description that fits the role you want. Review the responsibilities and qualifications. Connect with those who can help you understand the pros and cons of the role. This is where your network can provide valuable insight and access to those who can help.

  • How can you acquire the necessary skills to be a viable candidate? In addition to traditional institutions, assess low cost options for developing your skills such as online courses or volunteering with a non-profit organization. If your job does not allow you to utilize the skills you want to develop, find opportunities for practical application.

  • How can you start now adding relevant experiences? You can't have what you don't ask for. Talk with your manager about stretch assignments that can aid in your development.  If this is not an option, then create your opportunity. Take on side projects that can demonstrate your talents and capabilities.

  • What support will you need to stay engaged and encouraged? Find or create a collaboration group to share and learn ways to build your knowledge base. Join professional organizations and attend industry conferences to add connections in the field you are targeting. Enhance your brand online and engage with others who have like interests.

These tips will get you started on how you transition to your new career. Depending on the industry you are in and the one you are targeting, the barrier to entry can be easy or difficult. The most important aspect of transitioning into a new career is "knowing what you don't know" and you can avoid this pitfall by talking often with those in the industry and in the role.