4 Networking Tips For A Successful Career Change

4 Networking Tips For A Successful Career Change was originally published on Ivy Exec.

Starting a new career is often exciting, especially if you will be in a field you are passionate about. The job search process can, however, be challenging without relevant experience. Many companies hiring for senior and higher-level positions prefer to use their network to fill such roles. They rely on other industry experts to find the right fit for quicker onboarding.

Networking correctly can make your career change smoother. It helps you learn how to navigate and succeed in a new role. With the right network, you will get the mentorship needed to rise to C-suite positions quickly.

While your current connections can also be helpful during a career change, you will need new strategies to land a great job in a new industry. Here are some tips to apply.


1️⃣ Determine the Best Networking Methods for You

There are many ways to network, but everyone has a method they prefer or find effective. Yours could be attending happy hour at locations that are popular in your industry. It may also be connecting with like-minded experts during career events like conferences.

Identifying the best networking method for you will make things easier. You will be more comfortable interacting with others, which helps you present your best self. Picking a strategy that aligns with your personality and preference also allows you to build stronger bonds.

If you aren’t sure which networking method suits you, picture yourself interacting in different spaces. Where would you be most comfortable talking about your skills and career achievements? Is there a particular way you prefer to showcase your talents? Do you like demonstrating your abilities practically or showcasing your knowledge in writing?

Asking yourself such questions allows you to choose effective networking methods. If you connect better with others by demonstrating your skills, find opportunities to connect with people in person. You can participate in activities like:

  • Roundtable discussions
  • Trade fairs
  • Conventions
  • Public lectures
  • Alumni association meetings

If you find networking in person awkward, go for methods that don’t require a lot of physical interactions. For example, you could contact your existing networks to let them know you are changing careers. Ask them to connect you with friends and other professionals in the field you are about to enter.

You could also start a blog or post engaging content on LinkedIn. Here, you can showcase your industry knowledge and share your opinion on critical matters. This could help you connect with new people and impress potential employers.


2️⃣ Start Networking in Your Current Workplace

It’s easy to assume that you won’t benefit from your current coworkers once you change careers. But they might be the key to succeeding in a new job.

One of your coworkers may have friends or former schoolmates in the area you want to get into. They may even be aware of open positions that companies haven’t advertised publicly.

Instead of sidelining your colleagues during a career change, keep them close. Tell them about the new skills you gained or a new course. Inform them about the kind of positions you are interested in. Make it clear that you would appreciate their help as you venture into a new industry.

Volunteering for special projects will help you network in your current workplace. You can meet and get to know people in different departments. You will get a chance to connect with them and benefit from their expertise before leaving.

If your coworkers hang out after work or on weekends, you may no longer feel the need to do so. After all, you are changing careers and may feel you don’t need to work on your relationship with them. But, building your existing connections can provide you with the resources needed for your new job. It improves your brand and helps you gain new skills.

Instead of keeping to yourself the last days of your current career, connect with your coworkers. Accept their invitation to lunch and informal events. Stay in touch with them on social media even after you leave the firm.


3️⃣ Offer Value to Your Connections

As you focus on career change, you might forget that others want to grow by networking with you. You may expect your connections to help you during a career change when you don’t offer much.

Even if your connections aren’t changing careers, they could still benefit from your skills. Your industry knowledge might allow them to be more efficient in their roles. Besides, you can help your contacts get promotions and land dream roles by connecting them to other leaders in your current field.

When networking, remember to be a valuable connection. Find ways to help other experts solve problems and advance. Offer your expertise to create mutually beneficial relationships. Further, show your interest by checking how they are doing in their careers and personal lives. You should also congratulate them if they tell you about their recent achievements or post them on social media.


4️⃣ Secure Informational Interviews

Informational interviews can provide the guidance needed during a career change. Identify contacts in the industry you are about to enter and reach out to them. Let them know you’d value their input and advice as you take your next step. You can ask them to meet with you or send materials they think would be helpful.

Here’s how to conduct an effective informational interview:

  • Ask detailed questions to understand the industry better
  • Learn about your interviewee’s career achievements before the meeting
  • Establish what you want to learn from the interview

Updating people who help you during a career change will keep the connection alive. Let them know if the advice they offered helped you. Inform them about the steps you’ve taken so far and how their insights made it easier.

It’s also good to show interest in your interviewee’s personal developments. You can ask them about the challenges they currently face in their roles. After that, be resourceful by brainstorming possible solutions or simply offering your support.


Enjoy a Smooth Career Change

Changing careers is often stressful since you’ll be navigating new territories. Tap into your connections and use their insights to fast-track your growth.

Use networking opportunities to expand your knowledge and gain transferable skills. You should also keep your connections in mind by checking up on them and offering valuable advice.

By Ivy Exec
Ivy Exec is your dedicated career development resource.