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Guide

How to Build a Career in a New Industry

Deciding to change career paths can feel daunting. where do you even start In this article, the author offers four specific ways to ease the transition: 1) Start mapping the terrain. Read the resumes and LinkedIn profiles of top-level executives or fast-rising colleagues and construct the path they took. This way you can – if you want – create a similar roadmap. 2) Realize that you must take the lead. 3) Connect to give yourself freedom of choice. As a newcomer to your field, it’s possible that you’ve ended up at a subpar company (e.g., one with a toxic work environment or declining fortunes) without realizing it, as it’s probably easier for outsiders to get into an industry of a company invade the insiders shun. So network extensively, because if your original landing spot doesn’t fit, you’ll want to switch quickly. 4) Identify new opportunities. If you can become the first port of call in an area that is gaining traction, you can often build a career path around it.

When professionals reinvent themselves, they often feel that they have to start from scratch and that their previous connections and experiences don’t count in their new field. Your skills and network are probably more transferrable than you think. But it’s also true that orienting yourself to how things work in your new career may feel confused for a while.

As I found out while researching my book reinvent yourselfhere are four strategies to help you build a career path in your new venture while you’re still figuring things out.

Map the terrain.

In the early days of building a career in a new field, you may be unsure of key questions: which skills or behaviors will be rewarded and which will lead to career stagnation? How long does it usually take you to rise to a managerial position? What to expect While it’s an arduous process, things will feel more in control when you have a feel for typical patterns, such as: B. “Executives almost always have a finance background” or “It usually takes X years to get promoted to VP”. Have informative conversations and don’t be afraid to ask your manager or your colleagues what qualities the most successful people in your company or industry have in common. You can also read the resumes and LinkedIn profiles of top-level executives or fast-rising colleagues and reverse engineer the path they took. This allows you to create a similar roadmap if needed.

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Realize that you must take the lead.

In the past, companies often had clear career paths for their employees: After graduating, you climbed the escalator and – assuming you had the right performance – 30 years later you simply got down and was seamlessly taken up to a higher rung and salary class. For better or worse, that unified, standardized experience has almost completely disappeared from today’s corporate life—although many employees don’t quite realize it.

A common theme in my work as a speaker is companies that bring me in during their “Career Month” activities to explain to employees that they need to be proactive in raising their hands to seek the opportunities they want, and that there are likely many more traverses (to new geographies, functional roles and more) rather than a steep and semi-guaranteed climb in a narrow area. As a beginner, you’ll stay ahead of the competition when you recognize up front that you need to plan and work your way up, rather than letting things happen in lockstep without your active involvement.

Connect to give yourself freedom of choice.

If you are entering a new field, your network is probably not very developed in this area. Double down to correct this for three reasons. First, in the early days of a new career, you may not have a sense of exactly where you fit. For example, you might enter marketing with a job focused on social media, but later find that you prefer to focus on lengthy content. Networking extensively allows you to discover facets of your new field that you may not have even realized – and where you could ultimately excel.

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The second thing to remember is that you should consciously maintain your network inside and outside of your company. As a newcomer to your field, it’s possible that you’ve ended up at a subpar company (e.g., one with a toxic work environment or declining fortunes) without realizing it, as it’s probably easier for outsiders to get into an industry of a company invade the insiders shun. So network extensively, because if your original landing spot doesn’t fit, you’ll want to switch quickly.

After all, most jobs are found through “weak ties”. Especially if you will be in this field long-term, the composite value of building relationships early is significant as these are the people who will be approaching you for job opportunities 10 years from now.

Identify new opportunities.

One of the best ways to build a career path for yourself is to invent one. in my book Stand out, I introduce Mike Lydon, a young urban planner who successfully started his own company – amid the economic turmoil of the Great Recession – based on his expertise in tactical urbanism, a new development in his field. As this was an emerging trend, no other company had yet entered the market, and by extensively curating case studies and disseminating them widely, Mike was able to quickly become a recognized expert without having to go head-to-head with the industry giants. If you can become the first port of call in an area that is gaining traction, you can often build a career path around it.

Admittedly, life would be a lot easier if we could just step into predetermined career paths. But these days, that’s generally not an option. We need to identify them or create them – and pursue them aggressively. It may sound exhausting – like another responsibility we must take on – but it is also an opportunity to find a career path that better reflects our own interests and talents. If you follow these four strategies, you’ll be far more likely to achieve the long-term career you desire.

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