Thanks to Amanda Wilks for this week’s guest blog! Please check out her bio out at the bottom.
If you are looking to acquire an irresistible and marketable new skillset, you are most likely trying to change careers. It can be a scary thing to take that first leap to change careers.
What if you do not have the required experience to get into the field of your dreams? How do you go about getting that new experience? How do you find out what that is?
There are many successful people who made a big career change. Julia Child left advertising and media to publish her first cookbook and John Glenn became a US Senator after his astronaut career. Take the following steps to learn a new trade or skillset and get your dream career.
Identify your passion
Your first step is going to require some self-reflection. You need to ask yourself:
- What do you like, dislike?
- What do you like to do at work?
- Do you like being in the office or the relationships you’ve made with your coworkers?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
Once you can answer these questions, make a plan. You have determined your passion, now what can you do that will encompass your passion and give you a fulfilling career? What education or skillset will you need to get that career?
While you are just analyzing at this point, it is scary to think of the leap you will have to take to make the career change.
Maybe going to college for a marketable degree and a new skillset at one of the technology schools in Texas is the right path, or check out if there is a way you could volunteer in your desired field.
Recognize that your fears and lack of knowledge are your biggest obstacles. Arm yourself with as much knowledge about what your career change will entail, and the leap may not seem quite as daunting. For some, a forceful push, like being laid off, could be the fire under your feet to take the leap, and eventually turn into being the best thing that could have happened.
Start by networking & connecting
Wanting to change careers when you have no idea what you are doing can be a very intimidating thought. The easiest way to open the door to your new career is through networking and connecting. Networking does not mean standing in a crowded room and handing out business cards. You may need a new skill set, so what better way to figure out what exactly that entails than to talk to people who are doing the job that you want?
Connect with people. You may not know somebody with the exact job you want, but you have to start somewhere, and you never know who somebody else may know. Start by asking for an informational interview and make sure to ask lots of intelligent and relevant questions. Follow up with the people from your interviews and offer to help in some way.
Sometimes, connecting with people can be more beneficial than just sending in your resume and hoping that will get you to the job you want. Most likely, if you are changing careers, you may not have the experience or skillset that the job actually requires. However, the impression that you make while connecting with people could possibly lead to a job, or at least another contact.
The best way to begin acquiring a new skillset is to quit analyzing and start to act. Start with where you think you want to go. It is easier to correct the path you are on than to start a new path. Once you take that first step, you will most likely gain the confidence to continue going.
How do you take that leap if you can’t let leave the stability of where you are now? You hate your job, but it pays the bills; your family is depending on that income. How can you just drop everything and pursue your dreams?
Well, the good news is that you do not have to leave your current job right away. You can start to acquire that new skillset before taking that leap of faith into a new career. You can enroll in a part-time college course or take a community education course. Volunteer at one of the companies on your dream list in your spare time. Go for the informational interviews over your lunch break. Try a project out on your own.
Don’t let yourself get burnt out. Many of us suffer from having all of this built-up excitement and then letting it sputter out because the path is a long one that takes time, and then we sit for days, weeks, even months stalling on acquiring the new skills. Surround yourself with people in the same mindset; you can challenge each other to keep going.
Amanda is a writer and regular guest blogger. See more of Amanda’s work on Twitter @AmandaWilks01.