It wasn’t that long ago that you’d get a job and keep the job for years. Once you found a career path, you were likely to stick with it. Times have changed!

We don’t always get to decide when we change jobs these days. Jobs come and go. We don’t always get to decide when to change careers, either. Here’s what Nora had to say about that:

I was in banking. I thought I’d retire as a banker. I was wrong. My bank was bought and I was out of a job. I was confident I’d get hired into a different bank, but I looked for six months and didn’t get a nibble. Guess I switch to a new industry: but which one?

Here’s Mike’s story:

I would never have changed careers at age 52 if it was up to me, but it isn’t. My industry disappeared out from under me. I have to try something new but I have no idea what to do with my experience and training. It’s scary.

Career change might be your choice, or it might be forced on you by circumstances. Either way, you’ve got big questions to ponder:

How do I use my skills and experience to get a new job in a different industry?

How do I make myself credible to hiring managers in a field I’ve never worked in?

How do I get paid what I’m worth in a new career path?

Changing careers can be scary for several reasons. First, it’s not always obvious where to go from here — which career path to pursue, out of the many possibilities. Secondly, we’re not always sure how to brand ourselves for a career change. Third, we don’t necessarily know how to apply for jobs when most of our experience was gained in a different industry or function.

One thing is for sure: you won’t navigate your successful career change by playing by the old rules. You can’t fill in online job applications that show years of experience in a different field and expect to have your application pulled from the stack. Keyword-searching software won’t find you that way. You can waste a lot of time and mental energy pushing a rock uphill.

Career changers need a different way to get noticed. Here’s how you’ll navigate your career change:

First, you’ll take some time to reflect on your career path so far. There’s a huge amount of wisdom, triumph and learning in your background — but you need to see and value it before anyone else will.

Second, you’ll decide where to take your career in 2019 based on your talents, your interests and where there’s a need in the talent marketplace.

Third, you’ll brand yourself for the jobs you want. This is a huge step that many career changers miss or get wrong. You have to be very specific in your branding. You want to get noticed. You have to brand yourself as the solution to a hiring manager’s problem. It’s not hard to do, but it’s not the traditional “I am a results-oriented professional”-type branding!

Fourth, you’ll determine your value in the new career path you’ve chosen. Fifth, you’ll make a list of target employers. Sixth, you’ll start reaching out to hiring managers to start conversations about their problems and your problem-solving history. Seventh, you’ll network like crazy, whether you’ve networked in the past or not.

Career change is a big project. You need fortification for the journey. It takes time and energy to walk through these steps, but people do it every day and you can too!

Reinvention is a life step. It’s a change, like having a baby or watching a kid step out of the nest. It’s exhausting at times, but it’s a time of intense learning, too. You have more power than you know. You have value in a new field as well as your old one. You need to feel your power and see your value — then other people will, too!

Author: Liz Ryan,
Founder and CEO, Human Workplace; Author,”Reinvention Roadmap”