The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to change careers?” is by Lars Albright, co-founder and CEO of SessionM.
What do you really want to do? This can be a frequent, and highly annoying, question that is posed to people in the midst of switching career paths. Nine times out of 10 people don’t know what the perfect job is, or the perfect role—that’s why they are looking for a fresh start in the first place. To help with this process, I have three pieces of advice for people looking to make a change:
Focus on the company, not the role. The specific position you are hired for is far less important than the company as a whole. The most important thing to do is find a business with growth potential and a great management team that has a history of promoting high performers. Your first title or position at a new business almost doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to work hard and prove yourself, so when the opportunity to be promoted arises, it’s well-deserved and in an area you truly enjoy.
Commit to the plan. Once you think you want to make a career change the worst thing you can do is stay in the job search limbo for too long. You have to force yourself to commit to the change and set a time frame to make it happen. Often times, the search for a new career can start with networking with people connected to your desired industry, no matter how random they may seem. Just get out there and start learning from others who are already working in the industry you wish to pursue. It is amazing how these conversations will lead to new opportunities–if you have enough of them.
Don’t pretend to know everything. You don’t have to tell people you have it all figured out, but you do need to convience them that you have comparable skills that can be used in the new industry you’re looking to break into. If you can’t be creative and make that link, then it’s likely not going to be a good fit. That said, employers know you won’t have it all figured out during this transition, so don’t pretend that you do. Just do a good job showing why your core skills can be a good foundation to grow from in a new company.
Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What’s your best piece of advice for someone looking to change careers?
Is changing careers worth the risk? by Beezer Clarkson, managing director at Sapphire Ventures.
Thinking of changing careers? Here’s what you need to know by Shafqat Islam, CEO of NewsCred.
When you should (and shouldn’t) change careers by Ryan Harwood, CEO of Purewow.
3 things you need to know before joining a startup by Sunil Rajaraman, co-founder of Scripted.com.
How to successfully change careers (at any age) by Matthew Salzberg, CEO and founder of Blue Apron.
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