It can be difficult to find a position in your career field of interest, even after gaining the education and experience needed in that field. But when someone decides to move to a new career, with no previous schooling or experience, the task can be even more intimidating.
On Monday, October 1st at the 92Y, Maureen Choi, Associate Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, shared her experience changing careers after eight years as a dancer with the San Francisco Ballet. Here are three tips she shared that can help someone in the midst of a career change.
Maureen Choi speaking at the Creative Mixer on October 1st. Photo courtesy of Don John.
1. Build a Story.
After dancing professionally with the San Francisco Ballet for eight years, Maureen decided it was time for a career change. After determining her interests (writing, beauty, and fashion), she moved to New York in 2007 to pursue a career in beauty editing. This career was much different than dancing, but she knew it was necessary to build a story around her skills and passions to help segue the transition between the two careers.
2. Gain Experience.
As Maureen said, “Internships are the key to success.” You need to have experience in a field before you can begin to pursue an actual paid position. Maureen held a year long unpaid internship at Bridal Guide. While there, she gained a large amount of experience and was eventually hired as the Assistant Fashion and Beauty Editor.
While it was difficult to have an unpaid internship, Maureen looked at it as an investment and made the most of her time as an intern. As an intern, you should always go above and beyond. Be enthusiastic, detail oriented, and positive, while taking initiative and having a professional attitude. This hard work will not go unnoticed.
An internship also gives you the chance to build your resume, experience new ideas, and get a foot in the door toward your dream career. Never be afraid to volunteer, pitch ideas, or get creative.
3. Network Within Your Industry.
Networking is a fantastic way to jumpstart your new career. There are many ways you can begin to network. Use an internship as an excuse to build and foster relationships with the people you work with. Engage in social media via Facebok, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.
If you’re interested in a particular company or individual, don’t be afraid to send an email asking for an informational interview. If they don’t respond to the first reach out, don’t be afraid to follow up. Use this as a chance to learn more about your career field and an opportunity to connect with individuals you admire.
And finally, always be nice. (Yes, seriously.) You truly never know who you’ll run into again in the future.
Making Connections at the Creative Mixer. Photo courtesy of Don John
Have you recently made a career change? Do you have tips for someone who may in the future? Share with us below in the comments.