Switching careers is hard.
Before deciding to make a career switch I had always been fortunate in my job search. I found work quickly after undergrad and stuck with the same company for quite some time, never having to worry about updating my resume.
Now, however, like many of you my computer's hard drive is a graveyard for old cover letters and past versions of my resume. I'm currently at version 12.4.
Full disclosure, even after submitting a folder full of job applications I still haven’t figured a thing out. I still haven't managed to land that dream job. As such, feel free to reach out if you are looking to fill any positions with "dream job" in the role description. But I digress.
And so I haven't yet successfully made the career switch leap. But that isn't the story.
The story is that I have learned a few things.
And here is what I know.
1) One never knows.
“Wait,” I hear you thinking in your head, “didn’t he just say ‘here is what I know’?”
You are right. I did.
I know that one never knows.
Knowing what I don’t know and being cognizant of that fact are important to me. As such, I rarely turn down an opportunity to network or learn from someone else. In fact, the best chance I had at landing a job came from a chance encounter at an event that I almost didn't go to.
I went into that situation not knowing that it would help, but also not knowing that it wouldn't help.
Sometimes it can be easy to look past an information interview or networking session and think that it won’t be of any use. That you’ve tried it already and you’ve exhausted all routes.
Which brings me to my next point.
2) Stay positive.
I am not an expert on staying positive by any stretch of the imagination. A quick Google search on “staying positive” yielded 12,400,000 results, which means there could be at least 12,399,995 articles and blogs that are more qualified to offer lessons and insights on the topic.
But what I am an expert on is myself. And what works for me. What I do is tell myself that everything is going to be okay.
I tell myself that I never know what could happen. And if I never know what could happen then it stands to reason that anything can happen.
Anything can happen.
And if anything can happen to me, believe me that anything can happen to you.
If you don’t want to believe me, I understand. I’m just the guy with no job who is fortunate and foolish enough to have a positive outlook on life.
But if you don’t believe me the least you can do is believe in yourself.
3) Believe in yourself.
When preparing for a recent interview I became acutely aware at how self-defeating I can be. I was internalizing that my experience level wasn’t good enough for the job I was applying for.
How would the interviewer think I was ready if I didn’t think I was ready myself?
So I changed the way I thought about my experience. Now, I focus on the skills instead of the role and title. I am no longer afraid of what I don’t know and instead am confident in what I do. I know that I can fill in the gaps by asking questions, observing my teammates and learning from my own mistakes.
Even if you never know.
So what do those three insights mean for you? Maybe nothing. Or maybe, just maybe, you have your own insights from your own career switch or job search. Maybe they overlap and maybe they don't.
I don't know.
What I do know is that I will continue to stay positive and believe in myself. I also know that it may be worth a try for yourself.
Because you never know what could happen.
Do you have a similar story? What insights have you gleaned from your job search? Does anyone know of any good "dream job" opportunities? Let's chat about it in the comments.