Ask a Mentor: How Do I Turn My Passion Into a New Career?

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Compiled and edited by Julie Tereshchuk

Dear Mentors,

How do I establish myself in a new career that I’m passionate about, yet have no track record in professionally?

Yours, Passionate

Dear Passionate,

I’ll be brief: Focus on your skills and experience, highlighting them as they relate to the work you will be doing.

Yours,

Jane Baxter Lynn

Dear Passionate,

If you are transitioning from one career to a new one, take time now to develop a strategy. Most likely, you will need a track record to break into that new career.

Is there a way to develop a track record in Career 2 while Career 1 is still paying the bills?

Perhaps a weekend side job or some freelance work? A carefully selected volunteer position can establish a track record, too.

Even better, is there an opportunity to stretch your Career 1 responsibilities to include your passions for pay? Your current boss might know exactly how to put these other skills to use. It’s worth exploring.

Good luck. Establishing a new career won’t happen overnight, but you can do it.

Yours,

Sandra Kleinsasser

Dear Passionate,

Learn what you can about the expertise required in the job you want, and publish articles about the subject on a personal blog, and/or on LinkedIn and Medium. Try to take a unique approach to the subject and make a strong, well-documented argument.

If you’re not a writer, make bullet points of your thoughts and then hire a writer from Freelance Austin to write the article for you. But, when you get the draft back, make sure that it seems like your “voice.” Don’t publish anything that you feel doesn’t represent you or your opinions well.

Reading and writing on the topic can substitute for on-the-job experience in a given expertise by highlighting your knowledge and removing some of the risk to a future employer of hiring someone with less experience than they were initially looking for.

Yours,

Maura Thomas

Dear Passionate,

Take advantage of networking groups, meetups, Facebook groups, etc. It’s so helpful to meet and get to know people who are already working in your new field/career.

Try to set up some “informational interviews” where you can learn from more established professionals how they got to where they are, what it takes to succeed, and any advice that they may have for you as you get started. These types of conversations often lead to entry-level opportunities, volunteer projects, and other ways to get your feet wet and start building a track record of work in your new career.

Yours,

Gina Helfrich

About Jennifer Van Gilder

A marketing research and health communications professional passionate about doing work that changes lives for the better. Adept team leader able to develop and execute integrated, multichannel public awareness campaigns and community-based solutions.

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