You’ve contemplated it for awhile…..making the drastic career change.
Perhaps you’ve been an accountant for years, but realize your personality is more suited towards sales.
Or perhaps you’ve been working in Quality Assurance, but would really make a go of working in Regulatory Affairs.
Regardless of the change, there are three steps you can implement when trying to break into a new area.
Leverage Your Current Employer First
No employer wants to lose great talent, period.
The easiest way to make a change like this is with an employer who already knows your work ethic, your ability to collaborate with others, and your track record for delivering outcomes. Have an honest conversation with your supervisor and express your interests and aspirations for making this type of change. Take their temperature as it relates to making an introduction to the supervisor of the new department in question, or perhaps getting you onto a cross-functional project that also involves the other team. Another great option is to network with employees working in the desired department. Offer to buy them lunch or a cup of coffee in exchange for picking their brain about the work they do.
Use LinkedIn for what it was Built for
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools to-date. Use it to your advantage! Look for “influencers” in the field you are trying to break into. You can follow those that are actively posting insights or articles, commenting on others posts, etc. Chime in and engage with their content. Send them a message offering value first. Once engaged in conversation you can ask for the opportunity to pick their brain. Who knows, if build the relationship and you deliver enough value over time, they might just know someone looking to hire, or be willing to be an advocate for you when the timing is right.
Acquire a Mentor and Volunteer
Similar to using LinkedIn to network, it’s important to seek out a mentor who is already doing what you want to do. There are a variety of articles and blogs about how to acquire a mentor, but the most sound advice is to offer value first.
Once you’ve identified a list of potential mentors, be creative with the ways you can first offer them value.
Perhaps you have a skillset that they don’t have in either the personal or professional world.
Perhaps you can make introductions for them?
Once you’ve landed a mentor do everything you can to volunteer your time to be a sponge, soaking in as much knowledge as possible.
Volunteer to help with “grunt work”. The point is that you must do everything you can to immerse yourself in this new field. By gaining exposure to the field this way you’ll acquire relevant experiences that you can then articulate to a prospective employer, and it will help you determine whether this is a change you truly do want to make.