Career Change Networking Strategies
Most people spend a third of their adult lives at work, according to the World Health Organization. And if you don’t like your job, that’s a lot of time to be unhappy. If you feel like you should be doing something else, it might be time for you to consider these career change networking strategies.
While networking is critical to landing any job, a career change presents some unique challenges. The network you’ve built so far is likely centered around your current job and industry. But that doesn’t mean you have to start over. Your positive professional relationships will continue to propel you forward.
Here are some helpful tips for using your network and expanding it during a career change.
Build your foundation
Relationship building is the key to a successful career in any industry, so building a strong foundational network is crucial. As a professional, networking is an ongoing task that will continue to help you grow in your career. Look at your current network and identify any areas of improvement or choose certain people who may be helpful as you launch this next phase of your career.
Spread the word
Start letting people know that you’re planning to make a change. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. Explain the background of your current career and why you’re ready to make a move. You never know who may be able to help you break into your target industry or role. Talk to people you trust and see if they can connect you with someone who can put you on the right path.
Ask for advice
Using your current network, reach out to your contacts to ask for advice. Do you know someone who recently made a career change? Reach out and ask them to chat. Share your story and consult them on the dos and don’ts of making a career move.
Reach out on LinkedIn
One of the best ways to network and learn more about your desired career is to connect with the experts — those who are already doing what you want to do. Search for people in your target role and check out their career path. Reach out to a few and ask for an insider’s perspective on working in the industry.
Consider informational interviews.
When you connect with people in your target role, ask for a moment of their time. Informational interviews can provide a wealth of knowledge on how to get where you want to be. And better yet, find someone who made a career shift into the role you’re targeting. Ask them about the steps they took and what helped them to succeed. Here are a few questions you may want to include:
- What is your educational background?
- What education or experience is essential for this field?
- How did you get into this field?
- Are there any networking or professional groups that you recommend?
Do your research
If you’re at a loss for who to contact next, consider resources outside your network. You may find resources that help further expand your horizons. Check out organizations that interest you and look for influential individuals in the field. The more you can learn, the better. You can also find organizations or groups to join that may connect you with more people in your desired field. Be open to the possibilities.
Attend industry events
Once you’ve worked your existing network, it’s time to put yourself out there. Search for local events related to your industry. Many professional organizations host networking and development events where you can meet new people and break into the field.
Keep in touch
After you transition to your new role or career, don’t be a stranger. Keep people in your network up to date on where you’re at and what you’re doing. And don’t forget to thank those that helped you along the way.
Bottom Line Summary:
Networking for a career change may seem daunting, but you may be surprised at how many people are willing to help you succeed, especially those who have already made a change. They likely want to encourage and support others who are following in their footsteps. Follow these networking tips to gain invaluable knowledge and set you on your desired career path.