On social media these days, there is no shortage of motivational videos, posts, and comments.
In one I saw recently, Steve Harvey tells the story of how he went from having $35 and sleeping in his car on a Friday to booking a comedy show where he earned enough money to travel to a talent competition in NYC that Sunday.
Steve went on to win that talent competition, and shortly thereafter, he became the host of the show. That hosting gig ultimately lead to the fame, fortune, and success that Steve Harvey enjoys today.
It feels good to hear someone’s rags to riches story and learn that their hard work paid off. Stories like this encourage us to pursue our passions and inspire us to keep going in our careers when all hope is lost.
Here’s the thing, though…
Even though we love hearing rags to riches stories, no one actually wants to be apart of one.
Sure, the resulting success sounds amazing, but once you’ve been working for a while, can afford your rent and a few niceties, and have other responsibilities to think about, the idea of climbing back down one career mountain to start climbing another sounds less than appealing, no matter how much you dislike your current role.
Mid-career, we all start to feel like Drake. We started from the bottom; now we’re here. We’re not interested in going back.
Thankfully changing careers doesn’t have to mean starting from the bottom. You can change careers in a way that honors the skills, experiences, and salary you’ve earned in your current industry or job.
Here’s a strategy to make that happen.
Set Your Good Career Standards
Even though many people are itching to leave their job, they never get clear about where they want to go next. If you want to avoid starting from the bottom, you have to know what the top looks like for you. So it’s important to establish your standards for a good career before you make any moves. In setting these criteria, you want to consider your purpose, values, motivations, interests, financial constraints, and other life realities that go into creating a successful career for you.
Get To Know Your Transferable Skills
After finishing school and working in an industry for some time, you can start to believe that the only skills you have are the ones suited to that particular profession. This simply isn’t true. Through professional work, you develop a whole host of transferable skills that can cut across all sectors, and you can use those transferable skills to make transitioning into another career easier.
A transferable skill is an expertise you’ve developed over time in an area that applies to any industry. Public speaking, persuasive or technical writing, and creating business systems are just a few examples. You have more transferable skills than you know. By uncovering them, you’ll feel more confident applying for more senior-level positions in other industries and avoid starting in the mailroom.
Immerse Yourself In Industry
The best jobs in any industry aren’t found on job boards. They come from knowing who the players are and understanding the trends on the horizon. So if you are looking to transition, immersing yourself in the industry is the key to making a lateral move. Join the industry associations, participate in the online forums, and subscribe to industry magazines. The more you immerse yourself in the industry’s culture, the more likely you will be able to make a seamless transition.
Slide Into Those DM’s
Another key component to making a successful career change is networking. And your first stop on the networking train should be social media.
When it comes to careers and social media, most people begin and end their strategy by updating their Linkedin profiles. That’s only the tip of the iceberg when using this tool for your job search. You also want to direct message folks in the industry that work in companies or have roles you want to take on next. Ask for a brief virtual chat or a scheduled DM exchange to learn more about their day-to-day work and how you might find a position in the industries that matches your skillset.
Need a little more help to avoid starting from the bottom? Read this post next.
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