5 Secrets for Making a Successful Career Change
Bored at work or just plain unhappy? Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing for a while, are looking for a new challenge or have finally decided to make your work-life dreams come true by starting a chocolate company. Deciding to change careers is scary, but can be totally worth it. We were so inspired by Croissant co-founder Nisha Garigarn’s own transition from marketer to coder to founder that we had to reach out to learn more about how she made it happen. Read on for her tips as you get ready to make a leap and take your career in a brand new direction.
1. Set mini goals for yourself. Nisha notes, “It’s easy to get distracted by the day to day of life,” and we couldn’t agree more. To stay super focused, she says to decide on some specific tasks that you want to achieve, whether that’s finishing an online course to build up your new skills, or applying for internships.
She told us from her own experience, “Changing careers is challenging, but you need to keep yourself accountable. It’s easy to delay moving forward since there’s no time pressure for it, but keep taking weekly steps toward the end goal and you’ll see that you’re making progress.”
2. Fill your day with learning. Protect your time fiercely and find opportunities to stuff it up with learning the best you can. According to Nisha, “If you’re working during the day and you’re moonlighting trying to learn new skills, it can be a time suck.” Combat that by taking major advantage of online tutorials/classes at night when you come home. She also suggests following influential blogs about your desired career. “You can read these articles while you’re eating lunch. When you’re commuting, listen to podcasts about your career path.” Make each moment count!
3. Reach out to people who already have the career you want. We firmly believe that mentors can be a major help in making your dream come true, and Nisha told us that it worked for her too. If you’re not sure where to begin or who to talk to, take her advice and reach out to your network, contacting anyone you admire who has your dream job or something similar to it. “If you don’t know someone personally, then don’t be afraid to find people you look up to and email them with a question you may have,” she says.
For example, “If you want to become a designer, you can find works you like on dribbble and start a conversation by tweeting the designer or adding them on Linkedin. Social media makes it easier than ever to connect, so don’t be shy! The worst that can happen is that they simply won’t reply.” When you think about it like that, it definitely doesn’t sound so bad.
4. Attend events related to your new career. Events are an amazing way to connect with like-minded people and can do leaps and bounds for helping you make a career switch, as you can absorb info and learn a ton more about what’s going on in the industry. Nisha advises, “Find some meetups to attend and, well, meet a bunch of people! Learn more about what they do, and ask them questions to make sure this career is what you really want.” When the time comes to apply to jobs, you’ll also have a brand new network to tap into.
5. Get some first-hand experience. There’s really no substitute for first-hand experience. Use it to figure out if the new line of work is right for you without taking any huge risks AND build up your resume as you go. How can you roll up your sleeves and dig in? We love Nisha’s suggestion to volunteer. She told us, “When you’ve practiced and built up the skills you need to make the change, test it out by volunteering your skills to a young startup or nonprofit group — they both ALWAYS need more help.” Volunteering will also help you build the confidence that you’ll need to go through job interviews and totally crush it in your new career.
If you could do anything for work, what would it be? Tell us about your dream career on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)