Feeling Stuck? Want to Make a Career Change, But Don’t Know How? Read This…

Branching Into a New Career Is Easier Than You Think

Don’t be trapped by your specialization! Pressure is mounting for people to choose their career path earlier and earlier. Companies are looking for specialized, often technical skillsets for the most attractive positions. It can feel as though people are being pigeon-holed into career paths from the moment they choose their undergraduate program.

To keep up in the workforce, you might have invested a great deal of time and energy into becoming a highly specialized professional, filling a unique niche in the company you work for. If you’re starting to feel burned out or unsatisfied with your job, it can seem a daunting task to branch out and still command the same position and salary in a different industry.

The fact is that reframing the way you describe your skills and the value you bring to a company could open opportunities for new careers, enabling you to climb the ladder.

Your Degree Is More Transferable Than You Think

Look at any modern startup, tech company, or creative firm and you’ll see employees from all walks of life, with an eclectic set of degrees. Some degrees, like marketing and accounting, are broadly useful in a number of different careers. Someone with an accounting degree doesn’t necessarily have to work in an accounting firm — all companies need employees with backgrounds in finance.

But the value of your degree goes further than that. It’s proof that you’re a critical thinker, that you learn, that you have the time management skills to complete projects on time. Specializing in one thing is proof that you can do it again. Combine that intrinsic value of a degree with the skills you’ve picked up along the way in your field and sell those skills alongside your adaptability. To use the accountant example again: if you’re an expert in talking to people about their finances, you’d probably make a fantastic client services manager, benefits coordinator, technical writer, or project manager.

Think About Your Professional Journey

If you think hard about your professional development, you might realize that you’re more widely qualified than you think. You’ve likely been developing a set of critical management tools that most decent companies would kill for. Give it a try. Have you:

  • Managed projects or teams?
  • Communicated with other departments, your corporate heads, or clients?
  • Developed a new workflow, introduced a new tool or strategy, or changed the office dynamic for the better?
  • Trained or mentored new employees?
  • Taken a project in a unique, successful direction?

Any of these experiences make you a valuable employee beyond your job title skillset.

Ways to Open Doors

Industries across the world are changing with the advent of technologies too various to mention. Lines between them are blurring, and especially in tech, new agitators are popping up all the time. Keeping a competitive advantage means being adaptable. For many companies, that means hiring a pool of hard workers with varied backgrounds and areas of specialty — opening up their workspaces to new ideas and influences from other industries.

You can capitalize on this need for a wider breadth of experience, but you need to be strategic about it. Find a new industry or job title that you’re interested in, and start putting your name forward. Make yourself relevant to that industry by researching, reading, and then engaging with its influencers. Seek peers, mentors, and build a network around your new career path. Set yourself up for a soft landing once you start prospecting for jobs.

Make sure to take the time to develop relevant digital skillsets to keep up your own adaptive, competitive edge.

Your specialist experience doesn’t limit you. If you put in the work, and shine the right light on your work history, specialization can even be a boost to starting out in a new career. Don’t be afraid of a straight and narrow career history if you’re thinking about taking a few winding roads. If you’re an expert at something, someone needs you. And they might be in more interesting places than you think.


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