HubSpot Careers Blog

July 16, 2018 // 9:00 AM

Taking the Leap: A Step By Step Guide to Changing Careers

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Have you been thinking that your current job doesn’t fulfill you? Would you like to change careers but aren’t sure where to start?

Many people who want to change careers never actually go through with it because of a number of factors such as: inertia, fear of change, fear of leaving something established for something that might not work out, fear that they lack the necessary skills to succeed, or fear that even if they change careers, they still won’t be happy.

Fear. It’s the common denominator in any type of change,and this blog post will try to alleviate some of those feelings by presenting a step by step process to figuring out what new career will maximize your chance of success. This process can be used to compare opportunities that you might be considering currently, or even find new options that you might not have been aware of, but have the most chance of flourishing in. Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide to changing careers.


How to Change Careers

TL;DR: Of all the things that you’re better at than the average person, take that skill and adapt it to what is most in demand and least in supply in your industry or location.


Step 1: Do What You’re Good At

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question you heard throughout childhood, and one that many people are still trying to figure out now as adults. Much of today’s job culture is built around encouraging us to choose one thing that we love doing, and then do that. Sometimes, we’re even forced to choose that career path that we think we love when we’re young, and are made to believe that this option is final.

If you’re looking to change careers, you’re probably in the group of people who did try what they thought they loved, and it ended up not being the case, or the group of people who still haven’t figured out what it is you love to do. It’s time for a new approach.

“Is what you love to do, that you are extraordinarily good at doing, something we need someone to be great at?” This is culture guru Patty McCord’s algorithm for success. As the Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, Patty watched many employees grow and change careers, and this was the question she always asked. If you’re not really good at what you love or you don’t love what you’re really good at, it might be time for a change.

Of all the things that you can do, e.g. hobbies, skills, innate abilities, what would you be better than any person you would randomly grab off the street? Take the time to think this through. Think back to your education, what things were you better than your classmates, or think about your family, what things can you do better than your siblings or cousins, or think of your current colleagues, what do you pride yourself in being better in.

Make a list.

Take your time to think about it. I’m sure it will end up being a longer list than you had initially anticipated.


Step 2: Demand and Supply

One of the problems that candidates who want to change careers have is that they can’t provide examples of experience in the field they would like to pursue. The solution to this is simple: figure out what the market wants.

Once you have a list of the skills that would put you ahead of the curve, it’s time to figure out which of those skills are most in demand and least in supply in your industry or area.

Ensuring that there are many employers that would be willing to give you a chance because there aren’t many candidates that are available, but there’s a real need for what they can do, will increase your chances of getting an interview and eventually getting hired.

A good way to get a list of professional titles that would match to your skills is to search for “jobs [skill]” in Google, open the new jobs page and click on title tab. Once you have the titles that match to your skills, go ahead and search for each of them separately and keep track of how many positions are open in your area.

Do that for all your skills and rank the professions by how many opportunities there are in your area or industry. Look at the top 10 options-- these are real, potential careers that you can pursue.

Changing careers is all about doing your homework. If you don’t have the hands on experience that an employer wants, then arm yourself with knowledge that will allow you to be confident enough during an interview. Be prepared to answer questions about the industry or job that you took the time to find. Do your research and you will be prepared for success when changing careers.


Step 3: Survival of the Fittest

Most people don’t realize that when Darwin talked about survival of the fittest, he didn’t mean survival of the strongest, but survival of the most adapted to the environment. As such, by going over step 1 and 2, you will have a list of the new careers you could adapt to doing. This next step is about taking action.

One thing you can start with is reading through the job descriptions for the top 10 professions in your list and marking what percentage of the requirements you can fulfill. If you can do more than 50%, you’re ready to start applying! If not, make a plan of what you can do to bring you closer to that 50%. Adapt.

Once you’re ready to start sending job applications, go back to those listings. Make note of what keywords appear in multiple listings for the same profession and if they are relevant to your experience, update your resume to include them.

Most recruiters and human resources departments nowadays use software to rank the applications of the candidates they receive. Make sure that your application comes at the top of the list by working on your resume SEO and adapting the language to what your potential employers will be looking for.

Changing careers can appear daunting and hard, but it doesn't have to be. Preparation and targeted applications will make the transition more streamlined and easier to go through. You will not get offers for all positions you apply for, this is a reality, but it doesn’t matter. All you need is one offer to get you started in your new career.


Topics: Resume Career change Career growth

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