5 ways to Transition to a New Field

Are you feeling like it’s time for a change? Have you solved all the problems in your field? Are you looking for a new challenge? Are you hoping to transition from for-profit to non-profit? As someone who has transitioned four times from ESL teacher to college administrator, to association manager and then to executive, and then to career coach, I know a thing or two about transitions.

1.Research the new field not just by looking at websites or trade journals. Join the professional organization, attend a conference. Contact people in the field you are interested in. Get the information meetings where you can dig deeper into the companies, their mission, and the career path of the people you meet. You want to ask key questions: What are the challenges they are facing? How did they get to this point in their career?

2.Accomplishments – Go back to your best accomplishments, the highlights of your career. Think about what you are most proud of. Write them up in the P.A.R format: Problem, action, result. Above all, you want to be seen as a problem solver.

3.Transferable skills – What are the key skills you have used and will be required in the new field? Skills such as digital marketing, accounting, business development are critical in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Basic skills such as writing, oral communication, presentation skills, planning, organizing, and budgeting are highly desirable and transferable.

4.Selling yourself –Once you have figured out where you want to work, and what you have to offer, then you have to package yourself. You are that person who with x years of experience in y can now help the company solve its problems precisely because your background is different. You come with a fresh perspective, a new way of looking at things.

5.Follow Up – Be prepared to face opposition and obstacles and negativity. Just like selling a product or service, which can take 7 or more touches, selling yourself into a company will take time and repetition. The initial meeting, the cover letter, the resume, the interview, the second interview, the third interview, the proposal , the follow-up emails to each interview…all are an important part of the job search process.

Amy Geffen, PhD is a Five O’Clock Club Certified Career Coach with over 30 years of experience in non-profits, associations and college administration. She has worked with financial, insurance and engineering professionals as well as academics and non-profit executives. www.geffencareers.com

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