5 steps to kickstart your career change: Where can I find the right opportunity?

So – you’ve decided which direction you want to move in. The next challenge, of course, is to find the perfect opportunity that fits your passions, skills and values. To find a box with your name on it, waiting for you to claim as your own.

At least, that’s how most career changers think. It’s all too easy to spend hours trawling job boards, hoping for that elusive opportunity to be hiding amongst the listings.

Overcoming this hurdle is all about what we call ‘The Hustle’.

The Hustle is how you create opportunities for yourself. The Hustle is how you open new doors and build a career on your own terms. It’s how you stand out and put yourself in a field of 1, rather than competing in a field of 100.

‘Hustle’ has become a cliched phrase, so let’s first define what we mean by Hustle, and most importantly, what Hustle is not.

What Hustle is not: sleazy and manipulative. It doesn’t aim to hurt, steal, lie, or leave one party feeling like they’ve been taken advantage of.

A Hustler makes things happen and tells the world about it. No endless thinking or wondering. Just brave steps forward – even if it’s unclear what the next step should be.

Here are the top 3 traits of Hustlers that we’ve met and worked with over the years at Escape.

1. They create value

Don’t wait to be asked. Demonstrate value to others before they ask, and before you’re given explicit permission. Give ideas and solutions generously, and you’ll open up new paths and exciting options for yourself. Help others and you’ll help yourself. Or in Einstein’s words:

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2. They shine in public

Show, don’t just tell. Titles, degrees, and accreditations were much celebrated in the 20th century – but they carry less weight than ever in the 21st-century world of work. They might open doors, but in reality employers and collaborators are looking for applied skills and real-life experience.

In other words, don’t just tell us what you can do – show us. The Hustle is about doing the work, but equally, it’s about sharing the work so the world can engage with it.

3. They build authentic relationships

Opportunities manifest through people. Your next opportunity will likely appear in the form of a person. It may be through someone you know, most likely it will be through someone you don’t. This is about authentic connection, not schmoozing at networking events.

Meet people who care about what you care about, by getting involved with groups and events linked to topics that you’re curious about. Make a point of helping others out with useful introductions, and see how things unfold. View networking simply (in the way that Steven D’Souza does) as the “art of making friends.”

Here are some examples of what The Hustle might look like in action:

  • Email people at organisations you admire: Reach out with a simple hello and offer genuine value – an idea, suggestion or relevant article/video that might interest them.
  • Look at who you know: Find people in your contacts who work in – or know someone who works in – your new area. Buy them a coffee and foster the relationship.
  • Create a mini-website: Use Strikingly or Squarespace to create a site that represents who you are, so you can share it with new contacts.
  • Write a blog: Get your voice out there on a simple blogging platform like Medium, and write a couple of articles about your topic.
  • Make sure your Twitter profile is up to date: Post about your area of interest and connect with people in your new field.
  • Go along to networking events: Use Meetup.com to find relevant groups, and start getting to know people who work in your new field.
  • Volunteer: Build skills and transform your CV by carving out time to work for free, even if it’s just a couple of hours a week.

It might not seem like it at first glance, but the truth is that you’re already a hustler.

Chances are you’ve created value, shined in public, and have built authentic relationships in various areas of your life. It’s about building these behaviours and relationships, to harness opportunities as you experiment and explore new directions.

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:

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