Leveraging Your Skills to Start a New Career

April 28, 2017 Nicole Slaughter-Graham Career Change

Today’s job market doesn’t exactly lend itself to staying with the same company until retirement like people did some years ago. Volatility within the market, lack of employee benefits, and sometimes boredom can lead to a career change.

Maybe you’ve been in the same career for a while, and you’re ready to move into a new field. This can be a scary endeavor, but chances are you already have—or can easily cultivate—the skills you need to start on a new career path.

With a certain amount of dedication, research, and a little additional training, transitioning into a new career can be fulfilling and provide a good fit. Here’s how:

First and foremost, do your research

Just because a certain industry is known as a moneymaker doesn’t mean the fit is right for you. If you think you’d like to try the tech industry because you’re interested in six figures, but you aren’t interested in coding or IT support, tech probably isn’t the career for you.

You will want to do extensive research in the field you are thinking about switching to in order to ensure a good fit. Research the job you’re thinking about, but also research where that job could potentially lead. Consider where the best locations are for the industry and whether or not your location is a good fit. Also research the companies in your area and see if their company culture aligns with your values as an employee.

Measure your skills against the skills you will need

Many skills can translate from one job field to the next. For instance, if you have made a career out of teaching but are interested in corporate training, many of your teaching skills will provide a nice foundation for a career in corporate training. Lesson planning, public speaking, and delivery of materials are all skills used in both fields.

Take a look at a few job postings you find interest in and see which skills you have that match the qualifications needed.

Take a few personality tests

Skills on paper matched with the right personality can make the difference when employers are looking to hire. Consider a couple of different personality tests to see how your personality can enhance your skill set. It isn’t enough to just have self-knowledge though; you’ll want to also need to be able to convey these positive personality traits.

A great test for business professionals is the Fascination Advantage Assessment by Sally Hogshead. This research-backed personality test tells you how others perceive you and how to use that perception to your advantage.

The test will list your strengths, but even better, Hogshead provides a detailed profile report and information on how to use your skills to win over employers and clients. The assessment and general profile information are free, but the complete profile does come at a cost, but she also has a book where the profiles are included. It is possible to find her book at the local library to defray any costs.

Make sure any stale skills are up to date

Maybe you worked briefly in an environment that used databases or spreadsheets heavily, but you’re not really up to date, and these skills are required in the new career path you wish to pursue. You’ll want to make sure you brush up on these skills before submitting any applications.

Just because these are skills you once used doesn’t make them viable and marketable unless you’re comfortable using them now.

Researching a potential new career path, matching your skills to the skills needed for a new post, and making sure you’ve polished old skills that could be of use in the future are a great way to make sure you’re prepped and ready to embark on a new career path.

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