Managing Career Transitions: Successfully transitioning between jobs, roles and industries

imageJob satisfaction in the new generation of workers is lower than their previous generations. According to a recent Gallup survey, 80% of the 1.7 million workforce surveyed said their jobs did not set them up to maximize their potential. In an age where the current workforce is increasingly open (61% millennials) to switching jobs, career transitioning still remains a challenge, especially mid-career. Whether you are considering a job switch because you have hit the glass-ceiling in terms of remuneration/career opportunities or because you wish to explore a new job role/industry, making a career shift can be overwhelming. While changing your career path may result in new learning and adapting to a new environment, a few reminders can help ease the transition and lead to a satisfactory second innings. 
Here are four things to remember when making a career/industry transition. 

1. Know your why – Internal, external or both

For you to be able to make a confident shift and convince the employer of the same, it is essential that you are clear about why you are initiating a career move. Recognize the reason behind your desire to look for a new opportunity. Is the dissatisfaction in your current job stemming from an external factor or an internal calling? Will a salary hike be enough to keep you motivated in the long run or will it take more challenging responsibilities to increase your job engagement? Knowing this will help you make a more executable action plan. This will also help you in preparing a well-thought and precise rationale for your interaction with recruiters, thereby increasing the chances of conversion. Practice writing a cover letter or visualize an interview. Answering the possible interview questions will most likely reveal the reason of your desire for a professional change. 

2. Chart a growth path – New job role, new career, complete industry change 

If you are fundamentally satisfied with your work and industry, then probably, factors such as work culture, hours, salary, colleagues, etc. are at play. Changing your organization at the same level or at a higher rank will be a better idea in this case. On the other hand, if you are looking for new challenges in your job role and want to explore a new area of work, and are happy with your work culture, then maybe looking for a parallel shift within your organization can be a start. The third scenario could be a mid-career shift where a lot managers/senior managers look for a complete pivotal shift to reinvent their careers. This could mean changing your industry and starting on a completely new career path. Whatever be the case, identifying the kind of a shift you need to make will help you achieve your ‘why’ in the previous point. Look for long-term satisfaction through a career path at least over a few years into the future. 

3. Identify your transferable skills – technical + soft

imageIn the industrial age of growing automation and machine learning, organizations value skills and attributes that are specific to humans. Majority of organizations now test candidates for soft skills as well as technical skills. This is an advantage for those who possess a strong set of soft skills such as communication, leadership, critical thinking, persuasion, etc. since most of the soft skills are transferable in the new-age job roles. Also consider your technical skills when applying to a new job position e.g. your knowledge of coding can help you in a new role as a product manager for an online business. Identifying these transferable skills will help you design your resume and profile in way that they put forth a strong case for your candidature. 

4. Fill the gap by upskilling – research, network, learn 

Looking at current job openings and job descriptions posted for the job/career you want to transition into, will help you evaluate your level of preparedness for the same. The same can be learnt by interacting with your network of people who have an experience of those roles. Set up a job shadow when possible, as that will give you just the right insights into the desired job. While knowing your strengths and transferable skills will help you break through a new role/career, identifying the skill gaps and upgrading your skills will enable you to sustain your progression successfully. If you think learning SEO in-depth would help you grow ahead in your career shift as a digital marketer, then you can consider taking short-term courses or training workshops to acquire this skill. 
Shifting your brand as an experienced employee might be your key to making a successful career transition. Make it easy for recruiters to understand your story and the reason why you seek change. With enough introspection, research and openness to learning, a professional shift is not only possible but even welcome in modern organizations offering more flexible, adaptive and fluid job roles.