Five tips on how to make a successful career change regardless of your age or your industry.
By Judit Lovas
We have all heard of stories about people who, for example, changed their corporate job to start an ice cream business or who quit their legal practice to be a Buddhist monk. Over the last few years, I have seen more friends and clients shifting their careers than ever. Most of them have left their jobs to start their own businesses, while others, craving some stability, found full-time employment.
Changing our career can feel overwhelming and scary, regardless of age, seniority, or the industry we’re in. I remember how painful it was to recognize that my legal career, which I studied so long for and worked so hard toward, was not satisfying anymore.
What once seemed to be a good career idea can later change based on our personal circumstances or beliefs. Over the years, we develop as people, so our careers should develop too.
The good news is that flexibility in your career is possible. It is on you to take action and create a career and work environment that suit you best. Empowerment comes from realizing that you’re able to create new opportunities. A mid-life career pivot could also be a great move to ensure your future happiness and success in the workforce.
To set you up for success, I’m sharing five tips that worked for me and my clients who have recently pivoted their career.
1. Create an outstanding LinkedIn account.
With 740 million users, LinkedIn is the largest career-focused social network. It is as much geared toward a formal type of recruitment as it is the place for entrepreneurs to set themselves up as thought-leaders and experts in their respective fields. Create the profile section as if it was your webpage and post daily (!) only on relevant business-oriented topics.
2. Stop applying for jobs and start networking.
The new reality may include virtual workplaces, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t meet new people and build brand-new relationships. Quite the opposite. The world is your oyster. Attending international workshops and conferences and discussing relevant topics virtually is easier and cheaper than ever. Online networking can lead you to business opportunities in places where you never dreamed of doing business before.
3. Find a mentor.
While building a network is about getting to meet people you don’t know, finding a mentor is about having a role model you know well who will help you succeed. A good mentor can help you make decisions to reach your goals. The best mentor/mentee relationships often transition into a partnership or sponsorship. Having a mentor is a must. Find one.
4. Create your elevator pitch.
A pitch is a brief, distinctive, enticing intro to what it is that you’re doing and how you’re doing it better or differently than the competition. It must be short: a couple of sentences, thirty seconds tops.
Next time someone asks you “And what are you doing? Tell me about yourself,” you’ll know that this is the perfect time to use your pitch and highlight your edge.
If you know that you’re nervous when you have to talk about yourself and what you do, write down some talking points in advance. Rehearse your elevator pitch in front of the mirror until the words roll off your tongue and sound like you.
5. Have a well-considered career plan.
Do you always make plans for how you’re going to spend your summer vacation? Did you carefully plan your wedding day? We plan the most important things in our lives, and our career shouldn’t be any different. A career plan is needed to land a job, get a promotion, start a business, or sustain success in our entire career.
I want you to think about your career plan as a business plan. Every single business owner starts creating a business plan to make sure they achieve great business success. Why don’t you start creating a career plan now? Let me know if you need help.
Dr. Judit Lovas is a leadership and success coach and lawyer. She holds a master’s degree in gender studies. She provides you with the inspiration and skills required to drive your success in entrepreneurship to the next level—whether you are at the ideation stage, in development, or simply toying with the concept of becoming an entrepreneur.