Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Career Reinvention: How to Change Roles, Industries or Professional Goals

By Sherri Thomas

There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, and I’m here to say that you can do it!

I’ve reinvented my career four times, including being a disc jockey in radio, community relations director in television, regional marketing manager in a Fortune 100 finance company and a global technical program manager in a Fortune 100 high tech company.

If you’d like to change careers but worry that your salary would decrease, take comfort in knowing that each time I changed careers I received a pay increase!

Reinventing your career means repackaging your skills, qualifications and successes so that you can transition into a new job role, company or industry.

Here are four steps to help you transition into a new career more quickly, easily and maybe even with a higher salary!

1.What are your transferable skills?

These are skills that transition from industry to industry or from job role to job role. Examples include: managing projects, teams, clients or budgets, as well as negotiating contracts, or proposing and implementing ideas that generate money, save money or help the company be more competitive.

Other transferable skills include personal characteristics, such as demonstrating leadership or risk taking, training or mentoring team members, being goal driven, results oriented, a problem solver, or having the ability to influence senior managers. These are great skills to have, and they transfer from industry to industry. All kinds of industries and companies value employees with these types of skills and characteristics.

2. Match your transferable skills to job roles.

Read job descriptions posted on, and, as well as the classified ads in industry magazines, business publications and company websites. If you want to work for a specific company, check out their website’s online job postings. Learn the skills and qualifications required for various job roles.

Match your transferable skills to those jobs you want to go after. If there’s a gap between the required skills and the skills that you currently have, then look for ways to gain that experience. You can do this by taking on an extended assignment in your current job, or if you’re in between jobs then try freelancing, consulting or volunteering.

Also, attend industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Talk to people who work in the industry to learn about their career path, key skills and advice on how to break into the business.

3. Blow up your resume.

The first thing I always did before I transitioned into a new career was blow up my resume. Trying to piece together a resume that highlighted the skills I used to get my last job with the skills I need to land my next job is like trying to weld together Lexus parts on a BMW. It doesn’t work. You need a brand-new resume.

Showcase only those jobs, responsibilities and successes that relate to the job you want. The hiring manager doesn’t care about every job you’ve ever had. They just want to know, Can you do their job? You may also want to get a professional resume critique to help you customize your resume and identify your transferable skills.

4. Attitude is the key ingredient!

I’ve found that getting a new job really boils down to two things: confidence and passion. I’ve never walked into an interview having met all of the job requirements. In fact, for the television interview, I lacked the two biggest requirements, which were a minimum of two years experience in television and a reel to show my TV work.

To compensate, I focused on my transferable skills, which were being highly creative and a solid copywriter. That got my foot in the door for the interview. But to get the job offer and beat out the other four job candidates, I was passionate about the company and the job! I also told the hiring manager that I absolutely knew that I could do the job!

There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you transition into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to reinventing your career, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!

Sherri Thomas is founder of Career Coaching 360, an international speaker and author of "Career Smart: 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand" on Amazon’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books. Career Coaching 360 provides career planning, management coaching and leadership development to help professionals change careers quickly and easily. Connect with Sherri at and on her website, where you can also grab a free Career Analysis Package.

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