by Maria Lloyd
People are always looking for help, so don’t be afraid to offer your help. Also, if you find areas of opportunity for efficiency in your current position that are aligned with the career path you’re hoping to get into, present the idea to your manager and take control of it.
Many years ago, a person could go from working as an accountant to a marketing professional without an extensive background in marketing. Today the market isn’t as receptive to individuals looking to change career paths. It’s best to assume that you’ll need some experience in the field you’re pursuing if you’re wishing to change career paths.
The number one question my clients ask me is “If I need experience to change my career, how can I get that experience without getting the job?!” That’s a great question. My response is “Be creative.”
I think a tough job market is a great learning experience. A tough job market reveals innovative thinkers (i.e. people who are able to think “big”) and those who see things at face value. Neither person is better than the other, but to survive this tough market you have to be an innovative thinker. Here are some tips on how to switch career paths:
1. Get a mentor.
Acquiring a mentor in the career path you’re pursuing is one of the best things you can do. A mentor will be able to help you understand the day-t0-day grind in your field of interest. You can also help your mentor with their job by providing feedback and taking care of their administrative work. Most importantly, a mentor will have the resources and the contacts to help you get into your dream career. And because they’ve taught you all that you know, they’ll endorse you. If your mentor refuses to endorse you, ask them what you need to do to receive their endorsement. If they don’t offer any valuable feedback to get you going, find another mentor. Note: Some people mistake their mentor for a job search engine. Your mentor is not responsible for finding you a job. You should find your own job and get your mentor’s feedback. Don’t expect your mentor to get you hired.
2. Volunteer for projects that are relative to the career you want.
It’s imperative that you can show your prospective employer that you have experience that is relative to the position you’re seeking. At every moment you get, volunteer your services to expand your knowledge about the career path that interests you. If your current job is hosting a huge conference and you’re interested in becoming a party planner, contact the person overseeing the conference and ask them if you can volunteer. People are always looking for help, so don’t be afraid to offer your help. Also, if you find areas of opportunity for efficiency in your current position that are aligned with the career path you’re hoping to get into, present the idea to your manager and take control of it. Who knows? You may be able to move into your dream career without leaving your current employer. I’ve seen it happen before.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.