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Changing Careers? Zig-zag Your Way Into New Territory!

Ilona Vanderwoude | CAREEREALISM

Here are some pointers you can take away from Maria’s story if you want to pull off a similar transition:

Put It Out There

Share your story, ask for help, and do some soul searching to make sure your desire for change comes from positive motivation to want to do something new, not from wanting to escape something old. It’s important to talk with others about your dreams. Not just to get the mental and moral support, but also because when you do, you’re apt to receive valuable input.

People may have ideas you hadn’t thought of, or connections you weren’t aware of – just as in Maria’s example. And, as Barbara Sher says, “isolation is a dream killer.” So get it out into the world – even if it seems an unattainable goal to you right now! Others can help you realize your dream.

Use a Phased Approach

If your new field or position is quite a stretch and you’re sure you can’t enter it directly, do a phased approach – just like Maria did.

Look at your transition as a multi-step plan. First into the area that offers you the easiest entry. Once you’re in; get some experience under your belt, acquire some new skills along the way, and then move on to the area you really want to be in.

Volunteering or doing an internship is often a successful entryway into a new field. This may require a financial step back, so plan ahead, or do this on a part-time basis, if at all possible.

Zigzag Into New Territory

Not keen on starting all over again? You don’t have to! As Maria put it; renaissance folks should take a “zig-zag” approach to their career. Each time you move on to the next field, you may have to take a small step back, but not all the way to entry level the way someone fresh out of college would. Then you’ll work your way up again, zig-zagging your way through different careers.

How do you do this? By leveraging your experience and skill set and quickly acquiring new abilities. Figuring out how to promote your transferable skills and experience (on your resume, in conversations and interviews) will take some effort. If needed, work with a career coach.

Then there’s this nice side effect of being a renaissance person; you’re probably very passionate about your new professional focus and you’re quick to learn new skills. Don’t underestimate your passion; people notice it and are drawn to it.

More often than not, the combination of transferable skills, the ability to quickly learn new ones, and noticeable passion for this new field will get you there.

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