From January to March 2022, an estimated four million Americans left their jobs each month to seek different career paths, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s 16 million job switchers—a surge not witnessed in the U.S. workforce since the 1970s.
If you were part of this wave in early 2022, chances are you know how intimidating it can be to transition into a new career. You might question if you’ve made noticeable progress or valuable contributions. You might even doubt your own skills and competence level.
Feeling some insecurities at first is normal, but you will settle in and hit your stride. So whether you took the leap to start a business this year or shifted to another industry, here are a few actionable tips to boost confidence, grow your expertise and accelerate success.
Evaluate And Sharpen Your Transferable Skills
According to a recent survey from ZipRecruiter, almost 95 percent of employers agree that “soft” interpersonal skills play a crucial role in who they want to hire and retain. These skills can be acquired in any job position, no matter your level of experience or the field you’re transitioning from. Traits such as strong communication, enthusiasm, reliability, willingness to collaborate, effective time management, adaptability, conflict resolution, openness to learning, and emotional intelligence will make you a valuable asset. So look for opportunities to transfer—and continue honing—your soft skills in this new career.
Invest In Your Own Learning And Development
While some skills are transferable from your previous job or field, others you’ll have to develop from scratch in real time as you adjust to a new set of expectations and responsibilities. The sooner you obtain these specialized technical skills, the smoother your career transition will be. Remember that employers want to work with someone adaptable and quick to learn, so invest in the particular skill set required for success in your new role. Use the following resources to augment your professional development:
- e-learning platforms
- YouTube tutorials
- TED Talk videos
- Google certifications
- LinkedIn webinars
Grow And Maintain Your Professional Network
Building connections with other established professionals is one of the simplest, most effective ways to secure advancement opportunities. About 80 percent of employees feel networking is essential for their career success, according to a LinkedIn poll of nearly 16,000 professionals across 17 countries. Networking requires consistency, authenticity, and intentionality, but it’s worth the effort. When you form reciprocal, meaningful (not transactional) relationships with leaders and experts in your field, those connections could open doors that otherwise might not be accessible.
Seek Out Mentorship In Your Field Or Company
Another valuable relationship you’ll want to nurture during a career transition is with a mentor. This person can offer honest and constructive feedback, listen to ideas or answer questions, point out areas of strength, identify room for improvement, and even consult on issues such as salary negotiations, promotions, team dynamics, or client relations. It’s important to choose a mentor whom you trust and respect, so here are a few considerations to parse out when asking someone to assume this mentorship role:
- Is there someone in your business network or company with a certain level of personal integrity and professional skill sets that you admire?
- What are your career goals for the next five years, and who has the industry experience and connections to point you in the right direction?
- Does the person you want to ask have the time and capacity to meet on a regular basis, and what value do you have to offer them in return?
For New Entrepreneurs: Create A Strong Business Model
Small business ownership has been on the rise since the global pandemic. Nearly 45 percent of Americans planned to launch a business in 2022, and one-third of those startups came from first-time entrepreneurs, a poll from Digital.com reveals. If you’re a new business owner, there are many factors to consider. How will you attract a solid customer base? What are the most effective strategies to establish brand awareness, increase revenue and scale your influence? Are there certain actions you should take right now to plan for future success? The pointers below will help you create a strong business model:
- Formulate a marketing plan. Hone and promote your brand message to help increase awareness, traffic and conversion rates for the business.
- Choose a specific focus area. Identify a niche that will set your products or services (and business as a whole) apart from your competition.
- Target the ideal customers. Research the demographic traits of the audience you want to reach, then adapt your message to connect with them.
- Offer quality, actionable value. Establish business credibility with value-driven content (ebooks, articles, podcasts, webinars, promotions, etc.)
- Deliver on your commitments. Hold yourself to your promises to current and future customers—this will earn the audience’s trust.
- Ask for customer referrals. Use positive testimonials, reviews, and organic referrals from existing customers to generate more traction for your brand. As a recent survey from BrightLocal found, almost 70 percent of consumers will be willing to leave a review and refer your business after a satisfactory experience.
Take Your New Career To The Next Level Of Success
Whether you’ve switched to a new industry or launched a new business, starting over in your career can be difficult. Fortunately, these tips will make the transition less daunting overall, so you can focus on crushing expectations and accelerating your success.
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