Taking the Leap of Faith Between Jobs
Hi, I’m Olivia and I’m a Project Manager at Mighty Bear Games.
If you had met me 15 years ago, you probably wouldn’t have guessed I’d end up a Project Manager, or be working in the games industry. Heck, even I wouldn’t have been able to fathom it. I’d been studying for a diploma in Hospitality and Tourism and I went on to get a degree within the same field of expertise.
My world was so different back then.
In the time since, I’ve had 4 full-time jobs in 3 completely different industries — each role vastly different from the last. I’ve had a few friends ask me how it felt jumping between each of them and I often sum it up in 3 phrases:
- Uncertainty and fear
- Nerve-wracking risks
- Determination despite it all
(I was passionate about games and I was very sure I wanted to get into Game Development.)
If you’re feeling the same things I did, and still thinking about taking that leap of faith by:
- Moving into a job that’s not familiar
- Moving into an industry you want to explore but know little about
- All of the above!
Here are some lessons I’ve learned, all of which helped me navigate the chaos of changing careers in search of the right thing.
Look for jobs that overlap in terms of either soft skills or experience
Before making each career change, I had to ensure that the skills I already possessed had some form of overlap with the skills needed in the role I was aiming for.
The reason for this is that people are going to hire you because of the value you add to their team.
No one is going to be looking at your resume saying, “OK, they’re full of passion and a quick learner, but have absolutely zero experience doing the kind of thing we need. Let’s hire them.”
Which brings me to my second tip.
Don’t be afraid to take one step down the corporate ladder.
“But Oli, I’ve climbed so far and I don’t want to relinquish my position of power!”
My response would be:
“Well, how much do you want this? Is it what you truly want to do?”
If you’re looking to make a start in a different industry, the specialist knowledge that might justify your current level of seniority is very likely not completely relevant to an equivalent position in the industry you’re eyeing.
You should at least be open to trying for a more junior role, whose requirements are more forgiving and offer an easier way in.
Don’t be afraid to start small and gain that extra experience so you can grasp the fundamentals of what a job in that industry truly entails.
Do your homework.
If slipping down a rung isn’t going to work for you, you can prepare yourself to aim higher by acquiring the right skills and buffing up your resume.
Right now is — for better or worse! — the best time to take up relevant courses. (Yay, online learning!) Read books, listen to podcasts, watch educational YouTube videos. Keep yourself abreast of new knowledge and current affairs in your chosen industry. Seek advice from people working in the field. Pick up the skills that matter to the job you’re after. There’s a lot of room for learning and growing as an individual — regardless of seniority.
Don’t cut corners on this one — your aim here is to ensure you are (at least) qualified enough to even be considered for the role you’re applying for.
Network, network, network.
(While observing social distancing rules!)
You have got to get out there and make connections — whether online or, guidelines permitting, over a coffee. There are so different many ways you can grow your network (even with COVID-19!) that there’s simply no excuse.
You can do any of the following (and so much more!):
- Attend virtual conferences on a subject or industry of interest.
- Drop a DM on LinkedIn to people in your network who are working in your desired role. Invite them to a Zoom call for a quick chat. (Do it genuinely and with purpose; don’t just spam everyone you see. People can tell!)
- Join Facebook or LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your desired discipline and/or industry.
Increasingly, the most common way people get a job is through their networks. It’s been proven time and time again and there are many more in-depth articles on the subject.
And that’s a wrap! I hope you find this article useful in the pursuit of your dream job in the right industry. Feel free to drop any questions you may have in the comments below. I’ll see you in the next article!