Often times, people choose a career and don’t stick with it their entire life. According to recent statistics, most people will make around 5–7 career changes in their lifetime. Sometimes, a change in career direction is vital for personal and professional growth. However, this transition is not always smooth and can be daunting for some people, even if they feel a strong urge to make that career change. However, there are ways to overcome career transition fears and successfully without any significant problems.
Network with people in that career path.
An excellent way to learn the skills necessary for your career transition is to network with people in that specific field. One good idea would be to either go to a meetup, small conference or large conference networking event to meet new people in person. A meetup is a small group of usually 10-50 people with similar interest. Since they are created by hobbyist or professional in the same industry, they are typically free. You can typically find these meetups at Meetup.com.
An excellent meetup to attend if you want to move into the tech field is the Black Tech Boston meetup. A small conference, however, is usually held by non-profit organizations or smaller companies. The size of smaller events can range from 100–500 people. Since these events are generally not sponsored by any major organizations, they can either be entirely free or around $2. An excellent place to find events like these in your area would be by looking through Eventbrite, a US-based event promotion and management website. Eventbrite allows users to search, create, and advertise local events, including conferences in any type of field. Large conference events are usually organized by organizations, unions, and larger companies (ex: Google). The attendance at these events can range from 500 to over a couple of thousand. Since these events require sponsors, they are usually more expensive than smaller events. With that said, be sure to do your research and save up for an event worth your money and time. If you want to network with a large group of people, an excellent place to go is allconferences.com, which is similar to Eventbrite, but for more significant events.
Learn missing skills to stand out from the crowd.
Nowadays, there is a lot of competition in any field, so it is a good idea to research different job listings in your desired area to find out the skills necessary to land a job interview. Make a list of the skills you are missing and take one to two hours daily to learn these skills. An excellent website to learn new skills in any field is Creative Live–a site that webcasts thousands of live classes for professionals in areas such as business, design, photography, craft, and audio. The best part is that these webcasts are usually held by well-established professionals and are offered at a decent price with occasional discounts.
Volunteer for organizations within your field.
Another great way to build your skills without much experience in the new field of your choice is by volunteering for organizations in your desired area. Finding time to volunteer 5–10 hours a week will give you more of a chance of getting a job in your new field since you will learn new skills and make new connections in the area of your choice. A great place to find professional opportunities would be through the Idealist website, where you can find a job, internship and volunteer opportunities all in one area. This site offers anything from ongoing volunteer opportunities to one time single events. No matter what industry you want to go to, idealist can match your desired volunteer opportunity that works with your schedule.
Look for similar skills within your previous industry.
Sometimes, even an entirely different career path can have overlapping skills you are already familiar with in your previous industry. It’s definitely a good idea to go on various job search sites and look for these skills in job descriptions for your desired field. Take time to refresh and sharpen these skills in any way possible, as well as highlight them in your CV. Use the Tech Connection where you can find a variety of jobs within the tech fields.