5 steps to kickstart your career change: What if I don’t have the right skills?
If you’re looking at making a career change, the chances are you won’t have spent a lot of time building up skills and experience within your new area of interest.
Your resume might not look like you want it to, and you may feel like you’re at a disadvantage compared to others who’ve spent 5, 10, 20 years working in your new field.
This is an inevitable challenge, but not an impossible one. There are ways to get to grips with the skills you already have in ways that will serve your next step. Knowing your strengths and skills is how you can understand who you are in the evolving world of work, and communicate this with people you’d like to work with and for.
It might help with applying for jobs in your new direction, but it may also help you create additional income streams that will support you while you explore new options.
More often than not, we don’t recognise the skills we already have. To ‘know thyself’ – honestly and objectively – is the challenge here.
Here’s a quick exercise:
One – Take two pieces of paper.
Two – On one piece, list out the skills you love to use and that you’d be very happy to use daily.
Three – On the second piece, list the skills you don’t enjoy as much, but that are in your ‘bag of tricks’. Be sure to use all of your skills from all the parts of your life, that you could legitimately charge a fee for. Here’s an example:
Four – If you’re looking to apply your existing skills to a new role or career direction: take a look at each skill that you’ve listed and ask yourself ‘what does this say about me?’
In this way, your skills can reveal your traits. If you’re skilled at photography, this might tell you that you’re creative and have an eye for detail. If you’re skilled at organising events, this would suggest that you’re proactive and a great multi- tasker. How might these traits apply to your new field? Use your listed skills as examples of your innate strengths.
Five – If you’re aiming to bolster your income with survival work: focus on the skills you’ve listed that you could legitimately charge a fee for. All sorts of abilities can pay – including stuff you’ve never thought of charging for (fixing things around the house, helping people with their computer issues) and stuff you love doing (cooking, coaching, taking great pictures at parties).
This list will help you to see different ways to market yourself and uncover ways to earn that you may not have considered before. Is there work that you love that others find not-so-fun? Great! You may have just found a high-paying niche.
Six – Look at your list again and think about what you’re really great at. For example:
- Did you save money, make money, get new customers?
- Was it more beautiful, safer, more innovative, moreefficient?
- Did you do it faster or more effectively?
- Did it win awards, get attention, excite people?
- Did it produce a near perfect result despite chaotic circumstances?
If you’ve done any of these things, you’ve used your skills to create value. Creating value is how you build a reputation, which is the basis for your personal marketing and framing of your own worth (including your own rates).
Seven – If you’re reading this and feeling stumped – that’s normal. It can be really difficult to look objectively at ourselves.
Try uncovering the skills and strengths you can’t see by asking friends or colleagues you trust to answer a few questions: What do you think I’m great at? Are there any skills I have that you think I might not be aware of? What are 5 words you’d use to describe me?
Unfulfilled in your job? Know you need a change but struggling with the skills, connections & confidence to make the leap? Make sure you receive our fortnightly newsletter for the latest career change tools, stories and advice.
Read the first steps in this career change blog series: