“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
You hear this question throughout childhood and adolescence. But somehow, you’re supposed to have it figured out by age 18 and know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life before heading to college.
If you’re like me, though, picking a major and career wasn’t easy. I initially started with music, then changed to history, and ultimately got a degree in theater. For my master’s, I majored in something even more esoteric: performance studies.
I had dreams of working in arts education and eventually becoming a professor. But after getting my master’s degree, I realized academia wasn’t for me. As I decided to commit my life to arts education, I ended up moving to another city where jobs in my field were few and far between — and highly competitive.
I wondered, “What the hell am I going to do?”
I am now (happily) employed as a freelance writer, but it wasn’t without a lot of hard work and trial and error. As a student loan borrower, it does feel weird to not even be working in the field that I got into so much debt pursuing.
On the other hand, I’ve transferred my skills into this career and am much happier than I was working in any other field. Plus, I was able to pay off my debt even faster.
If you can’t find work in your field due to high competition, or you are stuck in a low-paying position because of your field, don’t worry – you’re not alone. According to CareerBuilder, one-third of college-educated employees aren’t working in fields related to their majors.
Fortunately, it is possible to transfer your skills to another career. Here’s how to make the switch.
Assess ALL of your skills
I always had dreams of being self-employed, but thought I was going to be working in nonprofits for life. However, once I found myself stuck in low-paying, unfulfilling work, I found a way to transfer my skills.
If you want to do the same, the first thing you need to do is create an inventory of all your skills. Lauren Milligan, Career Advancement Coach from ResuMAYDAY, said, “First, identify your transferrable skills from your ENTIRE catalog of skills. Go back a few years to assess all of your skills, not just the ones you used on your last (or current) job.”
Think of all the skills you picked up in school, through work, volunteering, or hobbies. Include both hard and soft skills; hard skills are things like knowing how to code or write effectively, whereas soft skills include things like being a good communicator or a team player.
Typically, it’s easier for employers to teach hard skills rather than train someone to have soft skills. Create a comprehensive list of both and outline all the skills and abilities that you bring to the table.
Identify your desired industry
Once you’ve assessed all your transferable skills, including the hard and soft skills, identify what industry you want to work in. Consider what type of work you value and will challenge and propel you forward.
If you’re unsure, use websites like LinkedIn or Indeed to search job descriptions for applicable positions that might be of interest. When you find job descriptions that match your transferable skills and your values, narrow down which industries you want to target.
Next, tap your network for colleagues who might already be working in that field. Take them out for coffee, ask them good questions, and build genuine relationships.
When I first started out as a freelance writer, I emailed nearly 20 people who were already career professionals and asked for advice. Of course, you don’t just want to spam someone’s inbox and ask for tons of free advice, but if you keep it short and simple, people generally want to help.
You better (net)work
If you want to change your job field, your skills and experience are of utmost importance. But it’s not just about what you know, but who you know.
When you’re trying to break into a new field, it can feel like you’re the new kid on the block. To help make the process easier, make it a point to network with people in your desired field.
Go to industry events and conferences in your field. Meet with young professionals in your community. If you need to acquire new skills, take classes in your community or online. Networking with like-minded professionals is the best way to break into a new industry and make connections.
When it comes to who gets a job or not, sometimes a personal recommendation can make all the difference, so build up your network with people in the career field you want to help make the transition easier.
Sell results, not just your skills
Employers hire based on specific problems and needs. When you are looking to change career fields, don’t simply market your transferable skills – share the results you can deliver as well.
Think about all you have accomplished in previous jobs. What are the highlights? How did you make an impact? You want to be able to sell your story with specific details and numbers. For instance, “I increased sales 25 percent in the first year” or “I successfully managed a group of 10 part-time employees.”
Once you can confidently sell your results, it will be easier to change fields and get a job in another sector.
Switching careers and changing job fields can be tough, but it is possible. You’re not doomed to be in the same field forever. In today’s interconnected world, you can transfer your skills elsewhere and carve out a different career you actually love.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate|