In this blog post, we have Marie Casabonne, an Alumni Community Manager + Video Content Producer of Dev Bootcamp, here to share some wisdom on what you should know if you’re thinking about changing careers.
Changing Careers can be an overwhelming and exciting process to start, so here are a few things to keep in mind.
My name is Marie, and I am a career changer. I’m also the Alumni Community Manager at Dev Bootcamp. After teaching preschool for 3 years and having my adult world feel as small as the junior preschool classroom in which I spent most of my waking hours, I knew I wanted my world and my impact to be much, much bigger.
Once I decided it was time for a career change, jumped to action to find an exit ramp. I spent time researching companies, jobs and the skills I would need to break into various industries. I talked to friends, I reached out to people who did interesting work and set up meetings. Oh, and I made lists. So. Many. Lists.
I wish I could say my transition was smooth and that it’s been all rainbows and unicorns since. But truthfully this was just the first of several bumpy career changes for me and there will likely be many more. Research says that people of my generation, the ever-transient millennials, will have 15-20 jobs in the course of our careers. Understanding how to transition effectively between those 15-20 jobs is key. This is a key part of my role at Dev Bootcamp, as many of our graduates come to our program to learn to code and launch their career in the tech industry after working or studying in a different field.
Here are five steps you can consider to ensure you take full advantage of all the resources around you as you move into a different role, field, or industry.
1. Discovery + Research
Lean on your network. Start by reaching out to everyone you know who would answer the phone if you called them to learn as much as possible about what roles and functions exist in the industry that interests you. Ask as many questions as you can, try to stay away from using buzzwords, and focus on thinking about the basic, day-to-day activities you would want as a part of your job.
2. Search Inside Yourself
Identify and communicate the transferable skills you already have and figure out what kind of value you can bring to your next role. This is where making lists comes in handy. So grab your notebook or open up a google doc for this activity.
Activity Break: Jot down a list of all the skills you’ve developed in your most recent position.
Ex: if we’re thinking about film > tech, you might include:
- Operations support
- Event planning
Also, think about what motivates you. Is it money? Is it working on a collaborative team? Is it having a global impact on your work? Motivation is key to staying engaged long term in any role, so make sure you’re clear on what you care about.
3. Learn About (+ Immerse Yourself in) the Community
Most job openings are filled before they’re published externally. Through broadening and strengthening your personal network, you’ll improve your chances of hearing about and being considered for these roles. You’ll learn about positions before they make it to job boards and you’ll be top of mind when folks in your network hear about opportunities that fit your skill-set. For smaller companies, you can even make the case for roles you want and value you can bring to their organizations even if they say they aren’t looking just yet.
4. Figure Out Your Personal Story
As humans, we’re wired to better understand information that’s presented chronologically. Therefore, by explaining how this role is the next natural chapter in the story of your career you can effectively communicate how you are a natural fit in your prospective employer’s story. Think about your previous career and the transition you’re looking to make into this new role as leading actions toward the climax that will be your contributions as an employee. Practice telling your story with friends who know you well to solicit honest feedback and share it with people who don’t know you well to ensure that it makes sense to new audiences.
5. Gain Experience
Start building applicable skills by attending workshops and taking online courses, volunteering and doing personal projects in your targeted industry. If you want to be a graphic designer, consider taking free courses at Skillshare. If you’re interested in testing coding as a fit, maybe take a beginner level workshop at Dev Bootcamp. Build a body of work that you can use to showcase your skills and passion for the role you seek. For the aspiring web developer, a robust Github profile with many open source commits can demonstrate ability and community contribution. For a writer looking to break into a marketing role, consider blogging on Medium or becoming more active in relevant conversations through social media.
Transitioning from one role to the next gets easier with practice and as you develop your skills and network in a given field. If you follow these steps, you’ll learn learn about not only roles, careers and companies you might never have considered, but also you’ll gain a deeper understanding of who you are, what value you bring, and what motivates you.
What kind of career change do you have in store?