Career transition can be both an exciting and challenging time. Once you’ve mustered up the courage to make a professional change, you are usually slammed with a dose of reality.
WOW. This is hard.
As a career transition strategist, I’m currently working with over 15 individuals in just about every industry you can think of across a wide variety of age and levels of experience. Some are making industry leaps; others are on-ramping after being out of the corporate grind, while some are considering entrepreneurship.
Canned coaching strategies pump people full of visions. I love dreams and aspirations. They guide you and pull you towards your purpose. Purpose makes me VERY happy.
Here’s the first big truth:
Not every passion is profitable.
Embrace this now.
You can still fulfill your purpose.
It may or may not be the source of your income AT ALL TIMES.
Can you make a BIG change? YES YOU CAN. You can truly create yourself as whatever you want. You also must be unattached to it looking a certain way.
Here’s some straight talk about a few situations that may relate to you.
“I want to find a new job in my industry”
Finding a new job in your current industry can take 3-6 months or longer, especially if you are only applying online.
Why? Hiring has dramatically changed in 2015. From employers being overwhelmed by the advance of technology, seasonality (i.e. hiring slows during holiday times) to the changing landscape of hiring practices, there’s just a reality to it we can’t pretend doesn’t exist.
If you insist on limiting yourself to online applying you will likely feel very frustrated. Being qualified doesn’t mean you’ll get an interview. It’s unfortunate but true.
- Nurture your connections. Make a list of 5-10 people who might be able to give you some ideas or refer you in the right direction. Start setting up casual conversations. You can’t afford to be stopped by the fear at this point.
- Not sure what to say? Spend some time writing a small elevator pitch about who you are, what you do well, what you are looking for, and by when you are looking to make a move.
“I want to transition into a new industry.”
This is totally possible. You’ve got to consider that if you want to build expertise in an area you’ve never worked in before, you’ll need to get your feet wet.
I was once recruiting for a small company looking for event manager. I received over 150 applications. A person with no event experience was going to the bottom of my pile.
One way to get around this is to tap your network. Someone who knows you and has an idea of how your transferrable skill sets may benefit their organization may give you a chance. This has happened to me my entire life and served me well. (P.S. I am not special!). I also advise people to consider a “stepping stone” job. This is a job that’s getting you closer to where you want to be, and may not be the ultimate destination.
- Find an organization or business you may be able to do in-person volunteering with to gain experience.
- Check out virtual internships you can do in your spare time in a related industry (check out internships.com or idealist.org).
- Think of 2-3 people who work in your desired industry and pick their brain. What would they recommend you do to break into this new area?
“I want to be an entrepreneur”
WARNING: Watch the social media “self-made” inflated stories of success.
They are usually aimed at selling you a program and leave out MAJOR details. These stories give you the illusion that you can do this all simply and for no cost. I run a small virtual business and it just isn’t true. The tools to make all of this run COST MONEY. You can get away cheap to start, but as you grow, your costs increase. Does this mean you shouldn’t start? NO. It means to adjust your expectations.
There’s a ton of “start your own business” programs that tap into your excitement, but few “The truth about running a profitable business” programs. Those wouldn’t be sexy enough.
It’s all about asking yourself some tough questions
- How much time can I devote to creating something I love on the side while building it to replace my current income?
- Can I get a part time job and start/build my business on the side?
- Is what I want to do clearly solving a problem that people have? What is the revenue model? How will it make money? What skills do I need to sharpen to make it work?
- Are there lifestyle changes I am willing to make to work for myself? Am I willing to dip into my savings to fund this dream?
Hype usually sells a lot more than truth because it just sounds better. I’d rather have a smaller business built on reality and ethics that honors people – both their dreams and their realities. The old adage “that sounds too good to be true” has some merit. NEVER stop dreaming or creating the vision for your contribution to this world. Just chase it with a shot of straight talk from time to time.