Guest post: 5 Networking Tips for the Career Changer

Changing your career can be extremely overwhelming.  I went through the process two years ago when I left the food industry for the public relations industry.  Since I did not have any contacts in the public relations industry, networking became my most important job search strategy.  If you are trying to break into a new industry I would suggest following these tips.

 

Networking Tip #1:  What relevant skills do you have?

  • Focus on the skills you currently have that you can apply to your new position. There are always skills that you can carry over to your new career choice.  You just have to think about how you can make the connection.  Being able to work under pressure, as well as having exceptional time management and customer service skills are very important in public relations.  I mastered those skills after learning how to feed 60-70 hungry customers on a Saturday night.  There was a lot of pressure to keep everyone customer happy and ensure that the food came out in a timely fashion. Focus on the skills you currently have that you can apply to your new position.

 

Networking Tip #2:  Find a mentor

  • Find a mentor in the industry who can introduce you to the right people and help you break into the industry.  Mentors are great for providing resume feedback and job search advice.  A mentor will also keep you on track and hold you accountable for your career goals.  Here are some great tips on how to be a mentee.

 

Networking Tip #3:  Join LinkedIn Groups

  • The LinkedIn Group Directory has a group for everything you can imagine.  Look for active groups in the industry to which you are trying to move. Start interacting with group members and reading the articles posted by others in the group.  This will allow you to see the trending topics in the industry and provide you with great conversation topics for networking events.
  • Once you become an active member of the group, start reaching out to some of the other more active members.  In my experience, the people who are most active are the people who are most willing to help.

 

Networking Tip #4:  Go to Industry Networking Events

  • Go to industry network events and get to know people.  If you are new to networking, “Five Things Every Networking Newbie Must Know” offers some great advice.  People who attend these networking events tend to be very knowledgeable about the industry and very well connected.
  • Invite someone you meet at the event out for coffee to learn more about the industry.  It might seem intimidating, but people love to help other people.

 

Networking Tip #5:  Volunteer in the industry

  • Inexperience is going to be your biggest obstacle to landing a job in a new industry. Reach out to smaller companies in the industry and ask them if you can help them out for free.  This will allow you to add relevant experience on your resume and, more importantly, you can use the company as a reference.

 

Changing your career does not have to be overwhelming.  If you follow the networking tips above you will have a new job in a new industry before you know it.  Are there any other tips you would include?

 

About the author:

John Muscarello is founder of Start Networking Today, a blog about Creating Strong Relationships in Life, Business, and Social Media. He is a Public Relations Account Coordinator and enjoys coaching individuals on how they can land a job by networking. Please connect with John on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest.