Have you been feeling stuck for a long time, like you’ve reached the height of where you can aspire already? You want to take a step in another direction, take on new challenges, but you wonder whether after 15 or 20 years working, it’s too late to reinvent yourself. Changing sectors at this time sounds intimidating, but nothing is further from the truth. Keep reading our tips on how to embark on a brand new professional adventure.
Changing careers. From crisis to opportunity
Changing careers in adulthood can seem like a leap into a void. Not surprisingly, you’ve spent half your life making decisions in a certain direction. However, you’re not the same person you were when you were 18 years old just starting out on your professional journey. So, don’t worry; feeling you need a change is not at all strange. And don’t forget: whatever the new path you embark down, experience is your ally. No one can take away what you’ve already done and built on.
First of all, you have to determine just how exactly you want to reinvent yourself.
Maybe you want to take advantage of all that accumulated experience to turn it into something new and make it profitable, maintaining and enhancing the part you liked the most about your former career. Or perhaps you’re looking for something more disruptive, a new profession, in response to feelings of a frustrated vocation you never explored or some special skill you cultivated over the years. In any case, nobody starts a process of reinventing themselves professionally aiming to wind up in a job they don’t like. This process indisputably implies having the conviction that it will be for the better.
Analyze yourself and analyze the market
Analyze your strengths and weaknesses as a professional. If you think about the work you’ve done up until now, you’ll be able to identify the type of tasks that you’re best at, those that are a struggle for you, and also, those that you liked the most and the least. Also analyze your profile: competencies, skills, personality, values and interests. Your experience and knowledge have strong value.
When you’ve defined your profile and the type of work you want to do, start researching where you can exercise this new role. This way, you’ll be sure to balance your aspirations with the market demand, keeping in mind that nowadays many sectors are enriched by “external personnel”, which give them more diverse teams, and yield more innovative results. Fundamental skills such as the ability to influence, communicate and problem solve are transferable to any industry.
Work on your personal brand and seek help
Take care of your personal brand. What makes you different and how you can communicate this to the world is, without a doubt, the first thing you should work on. And don’t be fooled: it takes time, strategy and dedication. Professional networks like LinkedIn are a great showcase to make yourself known, but you should always bet on content that adds value and differentiates you. Also, consider hiring a coach to provide you with advice and objectivity, help you develop your virtues and minimize your weaker points.
Know all the benefits of executive coaching.
Expand your network and start selling yourself
It’s very important that you also identify who’s going to accompany you and facilitate this career transformation that you long for. First of all, take advantage of all those relationships that you have established throughout your career and think about how they can help you achieve your new goal. But above all, plan how you’re going to interact with those new people and companies in the sector you want to break into: sign up for events, connect with new contacts via LinkedIn, interact with them… Networking, both personal and virtual, is essential to get closer to the sector you’re looking to transition into. Read 5 tips for networking in times of crisis.
Learn what you need to know
Yes, maybe you need to go back to the classroom. No professional reinvention can happen without a significant investment in your training.
Whether you’re aiming to reuse all your experience in the sector you’re coming from or jump from scratch into a new profession, you’ll need to update your knowledge. But what to study? You can choose to do a general management programs like the PMD or the AMP, which help you develop your business vision and your managerial skills. Perhaps you need to acquire new technological knowledge or, if you’re considering entrepreneurship, you’ll also have to work on a slew of soft skills (communication, leadership, persuasion, problem solving…).
At IESE, there’s a wide range of programs to help you develop as a manager or an entrepreneur. They’ll help you successfully change in whatever new direction you chose to take.