Have you considered a career change? Before you leave your current position, consider seeking the opportunity to sample a new career before you commit. A recent LinkedIn blog by Barb Poole caught my interest, and I looked into the idea of sampling a new career before you commit to it!
If you have been downsized, or suspect you are about to be downsized, this is a perfect time to consider both a career change and sampling a different kind of job. There’s less concern about your current management finding out you’re looking into a new career if you’re already in transition.
After the global economic instability in the last decade, it’s smart to want to look carefully at a new career or industry before you make the leap. More people are asking to shadow someone in their dream position to see if the career meets their needs. It’s a smarter, safer way to judge the fit and timing for a major career shift. How are these people able to sample a different career? It takes a few simple steps and some courage!
Research: Do some research on the responsibilities, salary and benefits, and typical corporate culture or work site involved in the new career in which you’re interested. Learn as much as you can, and decide if you’re still eager to try it out.
Network: Search your network for people with connections in the industry, or even those with your dream job. If you don’t know anyone in your target industry, you do know someone with their own connections there. That’s the beauty of networking!
Reach out: Explain that you are really interested in what they do, and you’d like to find out more. Offer to take them for coffee so you can ask about their career. Be honest about what you think makes you a great candidate for this career, and ask what you may need to learn or know before making the leap.
Follow up: This is where the courage comes in. Ask if you can shadow someone for a day. Even if it’s not the exact job you think you want, shadowing someone in the right organization or industry can be a real eye-opener for you. You made the effort to get to know your contacts and learn about their job, so they’re more likely to look into making it possible. It may take multiple interviews with your contact’s company before you get a green light, but the bright side of the time it takes to get agreement is that you’re making a good impression about your interest and commitment to learning more about this new career. That may help you later in a job search!