I have had a few different jobs in my 20+ year career. I started off as a journalist, then got into advertising, then the non-profit industry and am now an entrepreneur (albeit with a couple of marketing writing gigs on the side). When I embarked upon this latest venture, I didn’t realize what I was signing up for, but I am learning so many new skills that that alone is worth all the effort.
Apparently I am not alone in my transition from job to job. According to a recent iHire survey in the US, having multiple jobs on a resumé is becoming more commonplace. More than half of the 1,000 job seekers polled said they’ve left a job in the past five years, 75% said they planned to stay in their current job no longer than five years, and 31% were looking at changing jobs within the year.
In addition, an Indeed Hiring Lab report finds that workers in the US are switching jobs at a higher rate than a decade ago. It also noted that when workers switch jobs, they generally relocate to a new industry.
Respondents in a study by Akumina, an employee experience platform, say they are also feeling confident about leaving a job in a relatively short time; 75% of them said they feel that job switching multiple times actually helped boost their career. And 40% admitted to having four or five jobs since graduating from college or high school.
But switching jobs and industries does come with its own set of challenges. For example, changing careers can mean starting over near the bottom of the food chain, which can be especially hard on the confidence of those of us who already have a bit of experience under our belts.
In an article in Harvard Business Review, Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, explains that there are several ways to switch careers while maintaining — and even capitalizing on — your past experience.
She recommends leveraging the “halo effect”, effectively saying that “if you’ve proven successful in one field, others are likely to view you as being excellent all around, and therefore a great candidate in another field.”
She also suggests making use of the connections and money you’ve amassed as an older worker. For example, Clark says, “If you’ve built up a nest egg, you may be able to take time off in order to volunteer at a high level for a cause you believe in, thus gaining valuable experience and paving the way to a paid job offer.”
Finally, she encourages jobseekers to look for opportunities where inexperience is a virtue. “If you make that case forcefully — and can explain why your inexperience in their field is more than compensated for by the skills you’ve gained in your previous career — you may suddenly become a very desirable candidate,” says Clark.
However you decide to do it, it goes without saying that your resumé should be top notch and you should also brush up on skills you already have, as well as those you might need in a new industry.