Making a Major Career Move

A current client, let's call her Jackie, is asking wonderful questions. Without giving away any telling details (client confidentiality of course!) let me say that this client is a rennaissance woman, one of those people who have talents, interests, and a learning capacity that leave most of us speechless!

Today she asked about making a career transition. Although she has the capacity for Human Resource management, for example, she does not have HR-specific credentials. I agreed with her that going too far outside the scope of one's background - credentials, experience, skills - is not a move easily made.

After all, competition is tough and competing against well experienced, fully credentialed candidates does not bode well for an interview. Besides, it's experts who are paid well, so making some transitions would require a big dip in earnings if not a return to school. Sure, that's a possible decision, and one more likely made if you have a passion and hunger for that new role.

Here are Jackie's ideas for making a major career switch:

  • Work in the field or company you want to be in, and work yourself towards your dream job
  • Work in the position you want to be in, in another field, and this may land you a job in that position in the field you want to be in
  • Work with the mentor you want to ultimately work with, who has a lot of connections and can help you grow on a personal and business level so that you land a job in the field and position you want to be in

All good. And here are my additions:

  • Take courses - in class, online, formal or informal, or conduct self study - to demonstrate your commitment to this switch.
  • Set up a website or blog, to again, demonstrate your interest in, insights into, knowledge of the new field. Jackie shared an example of a friend who transitioned from a non-arts related field into professional photographer with this very strategy. And I suggested this to a client determined to be recognized as a children's author.
  • Website or blog too much? Join LinkedIn groups related to your new goal and begin posting comments, links to articles, suggesting books or other study materials, and buiding a professional presence. Recruiters reliably "google" candidate names before selecting the ones to interview, and this activity will build credibility (and if executed well, impress!).

Jackie and I finished our conversation with her remarkable story of how she came to Canada. After a visit, she was determined to come here to live and work. She set her intentions, set a date, and with full confidence began to work towards it. She gave notice to her employer as her departure date crept closer, purchased plane tickets, and patiently waited for her work visa, which arrived the day prior to her scheduled departure!

Wait, there's one more fact you must know and it will make you wonder: Jackie also landed a Canadian job offer prior to departing!

There you have it! Both practical and hauntingly mystical methods to making major career transitions!