How to Transition to a New Career Field

Julie Shenkman
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There comes a time when you’re ready to make a career change – maybe your current job feels a little stale, maybe your company’s prospects are uncertain, or maybe you’re just feeling restless and ready for something new. Whatever the reason for making a change, it’s best not to make a move until you’ve done some research and laid the groundwork for a successful transition. Whether you want to find a new job in a different specialty area of Transportation and Logistics, or whether you want to try something that is totally unrelated to what you’ve done before, there are a few key principles to keep in mind and steps you can take to make your career move.
  • Research: Read as much as you can about your desired career field – whether it’s books, magazine articles or blog posts, dive deep and get the details about what to expect, what the daily work is really like, who the biggest names and experts in the field and what are the projected future trends and opportunities – is this a growth field, or one in decline? How many new jobs are being created each year in this field? Is this other career field going to broaden your opportunities, or narrow your skill set into too small of a specialty?
  • Network: It all starts with networking. Spend some time thinking about all the people you know who are working in the field that interests you. Make a list of people to contact, and set a regular schedule to make some phone calls or send some e-mails to the people on your list. The higher ranking these people are, the better – you ideally want to talk with seasoned veterans in this career field who can give you the straight story about benefits and pitfalls, mistakes to avoid, and what kind of career path you can expect.
  • Conduct informational interviews: Once you have your list of people to talk to, start talking. Schedule some coffee dates and lunch meetings to conduct “informational interviews” – casual conversations where you can ask some questions and get some insights into what this career field is really like. Show that you value the time of the people who are interrupting their schedule to visit with you – don’t be late, and don’t let the meetings run late.
  • Do project work: Sometimes the best way to transition to a new career field is to prove yourself on a project-by-project basis. Serve as a consultant and contract your services to employers – or find a consultant who’s already working in that field and look for opportunities to partner with them. Consider working at a discounted rate if you’re new to the field and still learning the ropes.
  • Get a new degree or credential: If the only way to break into your chosen career field or specialty is to go back to school, then that is what you should do. Getting another degree takes time, money and opportunity cost (the value of the time you could have spent working), but it can be an effective way to reposition yourself for a new career. Getting a new degree, credential or professional certification is a way of reintroducing yourself to the job market – and of course, you might even learn something along the way.
Ben Gran is a freelance writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. He is an award-winning blogger who loves to write about careers and the future of work.

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  • Winter
    Surprisingly well-written and informative for a free online atricle.
  • Brendy
    Thanks for sharing. What a pleasure to read!
  • Kaedn
    That's the best answer so far!
  • Patrick Marsiglia
    Patrick Marsiglia
    Thank you!
  • Guadalupe V.
    Guadalupe V.
    The information was good and useful. I have been thinking about changing careers for quite some time now.  After reading this brief enlightenment, I will do some homework and look further into my choice of what can work for me in chaging careers. Thank you.  -Lu
  • Jumar
    Great Advice!
  • Christine
    Thanks for these tips, this is exactly what's happening to me
  • shereen
    Thank you for this useful information. I thought that career transition happens just spontaneously without a lot of research and study and that experience will come along. However, you showed in this article that it is an organized mission that needs time and planning. Thank you.
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