Every time I work with a client for my Career Coaching services, I ask them what their ideal pay is for their new career. And EVERY TIME, without fail they start their sentence with " I know that I will need to take a pay cut..."
Too often, we count ourselves out before we even decide what it is that we want. We believe that we have to settle for less because we want to make a major change. Here are 3 steps to take to start a new career without taking a pay cut.
1. Research your new industry
The recommended first step to any major life change or consideration is to do your research. Get as much information about what it is that you seek so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it is for you. When it comes to researching for your career, go beyond job requisitions. Ask friends in the industry, hop on LinkedIn and follow people with the title you want, and talk to recruiters about they type of people they are moving to the interview rounds and hiring for these positions.
Things you want to focus on in our research are the skills preferred candidates have, their typical educational background and the pay bands for entry, mid, and senior level positions in the private, commercial and government sectors ( This makes a major difference). Research the companies you want to work for and find other people that want to work there, currently work there, or used to work there for insight on all levels. Again, LinkedIn is a great place for this as well as GroupMe chats.
2. Map Your Skills
Now that you have more information on what it really takes and what it is really like to work in your new industry, it's time to see where you really measure up. Write out, in essay form what you did and what your experiences were in your last 3 roles. Unlike a resume, you want to get the full scope of your time with previous employers and the work that you did there. This will help you to identify skills that you have that are aligned with the skills of preferred candidates in your new industry as well as help you develop your impact statements.
There may be different verbiage used in your new industry that align with skills you have from your previous industry, and this is where you get used to swapping them out. For example, if you were an office manager responsible for training your office staff, you can leverage that skill to develop Training Plans for new system implementation on an enterprise technology solution your new team will be building. If you have a background in behavior modification or some other area of applied behavior analysis, you have skills and expertise in Change Management that could translate to the technology industry. The skill is in the process and knowledge of the work, not in the words used to describe it, but learning jargon in your new industry makes it clear that you understand the correlation between what you used to do and what you will soon be doing.
3. Practice Your Pitch
Armed with more insight and jargon, you can now speak to a leader in your new industry with confidence and be viewed as a part of their world but it will take practice. Practice speaking to your skills using jargon and verbiage related to your new industry. Write your resume in a similar fashion, positioning yourself as an experienced hire. Be sure not to limit yourself by referring to your skills as entry-level or beginner. You also now know the difference between you and the typical preferred candidate and can highlight those differences as your strengths when talking to recruiters and hiring managers. You bring a unique perspective to your new industry and this is always a good thing.
No mater what you were doing in your career prior to your new industry, you have transferable skills that can be applied to many industries. You are never starting from the beginning, you are starting from a position of unique experience. Use it to your advantage. Get started today and congratulations on your new career.