It’s easy to feel stuck in your career, especially if you’ve spent years in the same industry. But just because you’ve started down one path, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it forever. That’s according to Lisa Quast, author of the award-winning book “Your Career, Your Way!” In a recent story for Forbes, Quast outlines four tips for would-be career changers wondering whether their skills are applicable in another field.
“Yes, you can successfully change careers, but it requires a process of analysis, planning, and practicing how you’ll communicate your career ‘story’ to a hiring manager,” Quast writes. What’s involved in the planning? Scroll down to read Quast’s advice, and remember: Nothing is forever.
1. Analyze the Requirements of the New Job — Don’t just skim over a job posting and decide it’s something you’d be good for. Really read it, Quast advises, and get a sense of the skills and knowledge required. “Once you fully understand this information you’ll be in a better position to analyze these against yourself to determine which ones are transferable,” she writes.
2. Ask Yourself How You Stack Up — Now that you know the skills, education, and knowledge necessary to land the new gig, ask yourself where you stand. If you think you have some of the necessary skills, jot down examples from previous jobs. You’ll need to convince the hiring manager that you’ve done comparable work, and nothing beats concrete examples. If there are skills you don’t have, figure out how you might get them. “Could you read books on the topic?” Quast writes. “Could you learn it on the job? Could you take an online or in-person class or attend a seminar?”
3. Talk to People In the Industry — After step no. 2, you have a sense of your own talents and skill set, but it’s useful to get the opinions of folks working in your desired industry. They’ll be able to clue you in on additional skills you might need, and they can warn you about obstacles you might encounter as you try to change fields.
4. Think About General Skills — According to Quast, there are certain skills that come in handy regardless of the industry, and in the Forbes piece, she outlines four: creative thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. If you possess some of these skills, brainstorm ways to demonstrate them during interviews.