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29 May 2024 Paula Martins

9 Proven Tips For A Career Change In 2024

Thinking about a career change? You’re not alone.

You’ve probably heard about The Great Resignation, right? In 2022, a record 4.5 million workers quit their jobs each month, representing about 3% of the U.S. workforce.

The phenomenon, also known as the Big Quit, was referred to by economists as a pandemic-era trend. But recent data from Microsoft and LinkedIn is showing otherwise. According to the survey, nearly 50% of people are considering leaving their jobs in 2024.

That’s even more than The Great Resignation.

According to the research, high inflation and better labor market conditions are the main drivers for career changes.

But if you ask me, I would add other motivators to the equation: work-life balance, desired lifestyle, and simply working for a job you love. In some cases, changing roles or working for another company can do the trick here; but in others, it might require a whole different switch.

Whatever the case is for you, we’re here to help you take that first step and make this transition as smooth as possible!

In this article, I’ll share 9 proven steps that can help you make that shift. As usual, I recommend reading this piece from top to bottom – but you can skip to the sections of your interest below:

Let’s get started!

Step #1: Finding The Right People To Take Advice From

When looking to make a shift, most of us turn to the same people looking for advice. They are usually friends, family, colleagues – even career services.

And while their advice may come from a good place, they aren’t always relevant or effective because many of these people aren’t making the same leap you are trying to.

So instead, you’ll want to go to the people who made a similar move.

Here’s how you can find them:

  1. Make a list of 10 companies in your *current* industry
  2. Make a list of 10 companies in your *target* industry
  3. Run a LinkedIn search for the job title you’re aiming for
  4. Click the “All Filters” button on the right hand side of the filter bar
  5. In the “Past Companies” filter, add the 10 companies from your current industry
  6. In the “Current Companies” filter, add the 10 companies from your target industry

Boom — now you have a list of people working in your target job title who successfully made the transition from your current industry to your new industry!

These people have been down the path and can point out mistakes to avoid, show you what strategies worked, and help you learn how to position yourself.

Pro Tip: Want to uncover more LinkedIn features and maximize your networking? Check out this article!

Step #2: Getting Foundational Knowledge

Start learning the basics of your new field. You can source the web for the top 3 introductory courses and dedicate one or two months to completing them.

But education alone doesn’t get you hired – results do.

This will give you the foundational knowledge to start a new project and get some tangible results.

Step #3: Creating a Portfolio

Okay, so how do you get experience and showcase results in a new industry if no one will hire you?

The answer is simple: you create your own.

Want a job in social media? Start an account and grow the following.

Want a job in sales? Call up prospective customers, say you’re a “supporter” of the company, and sell them on your target company’s benefits.

Want a job in software engineering? Start building some apps.

Want a job in data science? Find some public data and use it to tell a compelling story.

You can make a great portfolio out of your own experience.

Now, I know you might be thinking: ” I don't know what to create or build”. You might feel like your target field isn't cut out for a portfolio. But the truth is, anyone can build a portfolio as long as they have:

  1. Case studies: And I'm not talking of a case you took ownership of. You can build cases around companies you would like to work for, inspiring projects you love, institutions you admire… the list goes on!
  2. A platform to show your work: It can be LinkedIn, Medium, YouTube…

Take the example from this guy called Callum Brich, who posted an amazing analysis on his Substack on how Kajabi could produce an estimated $286,560 monthly recurring revenue. He's not documenting his own experience — he's making a compelling case study and showing how, based on his analysis, the company could increase its revenue.

That’s how you show experience without traditional experience!

Step #4: Creating A Sandbox

Set up a space where you can get hands-on with the tools you will actually be using in your new role.

For example: let’s say you are looking to take the leap into digital marketing.

You can set up your own website and start exploring strategies like SEO content writing, paid campaigns, social media marketing, and e-mail marketing.

This way, you’re creating the opportunity to test and trial what you’ve learned in the books (or, in most cases, the internet) and develop problem-solving skills.

Step #5: Volunteering

Now it was time for the real deal.

Reach out to local businesses and offer them your services for free, with an out to cut ties at any time.

This is what’s going to give you real-life experiences – and testimonials.

Step #6: Consulting

After a while, you’ll be able to start charging for your services.

You can start by offering a low monthly retainer and use your volunteering case studies to get new clients.

Eventually, you will get to the point where you’ll be able to increase your rates as you help more clients, all while you’re expanding your experience and skills.

Step #7:  Documenting The Journey

Share as you learn. Document your journey by creating content on the strategies you tested, mistakes you made, results you achieved with your tests, and of course, your big wins.

Not only will the writing help you cement what you learned, but it will also act as a “resume” where employers can see how you operate.

Take the example of Taylor Hatfield, an Education Technology Specialist, who is doing an awesome job documenting and sharing her knowledge on LinkedIn. She recently posted a great guide on interactive panel purchasing:

Step #8: Action-Oriented Education

As you grow into your new field, you’ll probably run into tasks you can’t solve.

So, keep learning – even if you have to step out of your ideal scope of work to get things done.

Take a new course, read a book, connect with people in the industry, and ask them for advice.

Action refines education!

Step #9: Packaging It All Up

Take all of that experience you created for yourself and pack it up into your resume and LinkedIn profile. You can also talk about your experience during your interviews!

Final Thoughts On Carrer Change

Changing careers can seem like an unrealistic approach at first – especially if you already have years of traditional experience in another field.

And I know you might wonder: “It will take me X amount of time to make the shift, so should I even bother?”

Well, think about it: this time will go by either way, won’t it?

A few months later, you can either be where you are now or have gone through all of the 9 steps above, with a job you love waiting for you at the end of the road.

Paula Martins

Paula is Cultivated Culture's amazing Editor and Content Manager. Her background is in journalism and she's transitioned from roles in education, to tech, to finance, and more. She blends her journalism background with her job search experience to share advice aimed at helping people like you land jobs they love without applying online.

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