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15 step action plan to change from one career field to another

be strategic in your job search, improve your job search, job search action plan,
Moving from one field to another can
be challenging, but it is doable.
Are you frustrated by a lack of available opportunities in your field or unhappy with your career choice? Many job seekers who I have spoken with want to change fields, but don’t know where to start. These steps can help you successfully make a major move.

But first, consider this: Hiring companies typically want someone who has the exact experience they want, not someone who is from a different field. To be considered, impress upon them in person, through your online presence and in your application materials, that your past experience makes you uniquely qualified for their position. Otherwise, you will likely not be considered.

15 steps to a new career field

1) Contemplate what you enjoy doing. Completing my Career Action Plan can help. Make sure you want to change careers because you have a passion for something else and not because you don’t like your current company or boss.

2) Research careers and hot jobs related to your interests. Study relevant job descriptions to make sure you still find the field interesting. 

3) Narrow your career options to the one you really want. Don’t skip this step! I often speak with job seekers who can’t decide. Decide, discard the other options and then focus on your target career.

4) Determine your skills and whether they are transferable to this different field.

5) Recognize your educational and job experience deficiencies that can keep you from being qualified.

6) Determine how you will be able to afford getting educated/trained in your new field. Consider scholarships, grants, and loans; as well as government-subsidized options, etc.

7) Consider whether you can transition to a new field within your current company. If so, put together a proposal for your company leadership to convince them that helping you attain this new role (through training, job shadowing, college classes, and on-the-job experience, etc.) is in their best interest.

8) Get trained or educated in your new field. This could take weeks or years depending on the career you choose to pursue. Also learn through available Resources.

9) Volunteer using your new skills. Offer your services to a local nonprofit or serve on their board and work your way onto the committees where you can use your talents.

10) Gain needed experience. This could involve taking on new tasks at your current job, taking a part time job in your new field, freelancing, interning, starting your own company, etc.

11) Establish relationships within your new field. Seek out mentors and network to become known in the industry and so you can assess the talent pool and what it will take to excel. Remember, when changing career fields, who you know is as important as what you know because people who know you and your abilities in one field may be more willing to give you a chance in another.

12) Establish yourself as a real contender in your new field. Write a brief statement (also known as an elevator speech) that mentions how your past experience coupled with your new education and skills make you uniquely qualified. Be ready to rattle off this statement whenever you interact with people who can further your efforts.

13) Play up your readiness in all materials and messaging. Create a new resume and cover letter that specifically focuses on your target career and that proves why you are the best candidate for the job. Modify your LinkedIn profile to reflect the new you. Join related groups (both physical groups and LinkedIn groups). Become a thought leader in your new field by participating in group discussions and activities.

14) Develop and show samples of your new abilities. Include them in your portfolio and e-mails to hiring companies. Add them to your LinkedIn profile in your Summary (About), Experience, or Education sections.

15) Apply for jobs in the new field, playing up all of the new skills and experiences you’ve acquired. Learn from rejections and retool your messaging and interviewing techniques to be even better prepared the next time.

Changing career fields in mid-stream will not be easy. In fact you may have to take a lower level job at less pay to get yourself established. But if you have a passion for a different field and a willingness to take on the challenge, take action steps now to get prepared.

Have you changed career fields or do you want to? Share your story -- Thanks, Kathy


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  1. People often move their careers like this.

  2. Very good explanation on this particular topic.


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