“I know I just got here but…”: How to Fearlessly Transition Industries as a Young Professional


As a young professional, we are often thrilled to pieces to secure that first opportunity getting our foot in the door. Unfortunately, honeymoon phases can melt away quickly, leaving you quietly dissatisfied with your industry, work culture, or environment. While one of the beautiful things about human resources is having the freedom to work within a variety of industries, it can take some time to figure out what industries ignite your professional passion and if your current industry leaves you feeling a little more lackluster. Just as some individuals flourish in some environments and wilt in others, different industries bring unique challenges and perks.

Trying to walk a careful balance between job hopping too much and finding the right career fit for you can be a challenge. This feat can feel even more daunting to a young professional with less experience to leverage while considering an industry transition, but never fear! There are some simple steps that can help get your feet pointed in the right direction on your new path.

Plan, plan, and plan some more. There’s an old saying that a goal without a plan is just a wish. In working to make your professional goals reality, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start planning. Begin with research – after identifying the industry you’d like to move into, learn what job markets have the most opportunities in your dream sector. If relocation is required, that brings in an additional element of planning. Evaluate what education is needed for industry professionals – you may need to pursue additional professional development in work safety, for example. Examine your budget to determine how long you could weather a pay cut, should the need arise.

Find some trees to bark up. Networking and relying on those communications can be imperative to success. Recruiters can be excellent resources to point you in the right direction to join industry associations and recommend where to look for new career opportunities. Even if your connections come from the professors who got you to your college degree or young professional peers, you never know who may know the right person to help lead the way as you navigate unfamiliar waters.

Started from the bottom, now we’re… still at the bottom. It’s okay to think of this time as hitting the reset button! Mentally preparing yourself to potentially take a lower level position can take longer than you’d think when you’re just getting started in your career. If you’ve dedicated a great deal of time and effort to get where you are in the short span of your career thus far, don’t think of it as a waste to transition into a new industry. Many of your skills and accomplishments can translate into new sectors – take a moment to think about the commonalities in your experience thus far compared to your target industry. You can also get creative in developing talking points for future interviews highlighting how your unique background can actually help you stand out from the crowd.

While these points are certainly not miracle cures or the only steps you’ll need in starting a transition into a brand-new industry, consider this a springboard to get you skyrocketing towards your professional goals. It can be daunting and downright scary to plunge into the unknown, but perhaps these words from the celebrated Robert Kennedy can help quell the fear and inspire courage while venturing into the unknown: “This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”




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