My new client Sandy called me recently with a question about knowing whether her skills can be used for a position in a different field. She feels it would be a good move for her and loves the idea of the new position, but has no idea if the move is possible and if it will offer a similar (or higher) salary and benefits to what she currently is receiving.

Sandy’s question was, “How can I know that I can make the change successfully?” Unfortunately there are no guarantees with any career change or in life in general. But I told her that she can prepare through research, to eliminate as many roadblocks as possible; which will give her a clearer understanding if the move is right for her.

I suggested to Sandy that she start with research to see what was needed for her new targeted career choice in order to find out if she currently meets the requirements of the job. This will be her first hurdle. If Sandy meets the requirements, great! If she doesn’t, what will it take to get there and will she want to make the commitment to meet these requirements? All things she’ll have to answer before moving forward.

Next step is to research the position and see if the salary will meet her expectations and what benefits are usually offered. If the salary is within Sandy’s range, she can move forward and develop a targeted resume to focus on the desired position. With continued research she can begin making tactical connections within the industry to find out more about the industry, prospective companies and to build a network that will benefit her career goals.

LinkedIn and its’ related groups are a great first step, joining associations and local affiliations within the industry will help too. The more Sandy becomes part of the niche community the more she will be able to build relationships and zero in on companies that will provide the job she is looking for.

This process can and should begin before Sandy leaves her current job. The preparation may take only weeks or it could take months or longer. Learning all she can about the position, industry, and building a related network will greatly help to make a smooth transition when the time is right.

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