George posted on LinkedIn that he wanted to switch careers and become a product manager. He wanted to move from being an SDR (Sales Development Rep). He has no experience, he has never been a product manager before, but he knows it’s what he wants to do.
Here’s his post.
I love that George wants to make a move and love that he’s going for it. There is no longer any reason to get stuck in a job you don’t like and today it’s never been easier to switch.
My advice to anyone looking to change careers, start building a brand and identity around the NEW career you want. Start reading, educating and learning everything you can.
In George’s case, George should start learning and reading everything he can about product management. He needs to read white papers, studies, and research. He needs to interview people in the space. He needs to read every book he can get his hands on. He needs to envelop himself in the space. In other words, he doesn’t need to go back to school, but rather he needs to increase his expertise in the field of product management.
The key in changing careers in the 21st Century is to build a deliberate learning path. In other words, outline everything you need to learn about the new job you want and make a list. From the list, create a timeline and resource plan on how you’re going to learn everything in the outline. For George, this means building a deliberate learning path for product management.
To switch careers you need to accelerate your learning curve and gain as much knowledge and expertise as possible. This is the critical step. You have to nail this part. You have to be maniacal about gaining expertise.
Why? Because when you have no experience, expertise is your only hope.
Expertise is the secret weapon to getting the attention of future employers and getting your chance to getting a job in a new career you’re excited about.
Go full speed at acquiring information and knowledge. Don’t be shy. Go all in. It’s the key.
Unfortunately, gaining all this knowledge isn’t enough. People, future employers, have to know you have it. Therefore, you have to share what you’re learning. You have to start creating content.
In George’s case, and for most people, I recommend starting with LinkedIn Pulse to post what you’re learning. George could post on the; 10 Mistakes Product Managers Make That Sink a New Product, or When to Know a Product Should be End of Life, or How Great Product Managers Work with Sales, There are a million different topics George or anyone looking to establish their expertise in product management could learn and write about.
The objective here is to create a platform where your knowledge, understanding and newly acquired expertise can be found and seen. You must be able to showcase your knowledge. It’s how a potential employer can get past lack of experience.
That’s the challenge of switching careers, the belief or concern that you can’t do the job. However, when you create a robust portfolio of impressive asset containing blog posts, videos, etc. highlighting your knowledge, understanding, and approach to the career you’re pursuing it makes it easier for a potential hiring manager to say, “Hey, they may not have the level of experiencing I’m looking for, but their expertise is off the charts. Let’s give them a shot.”
Switching careers today comes down to growing your expertise and sharing what you’re learning. It’s that simple.
Now that you’ve built a brand and are establishing yourself as competent in the new career you’re chasing, there is another tip that will accelerate your career transition.
You need to find key players in the space.
Let’s use George again. George would be served well by running a search on “Top Product Managers” and find out who the web, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc say are the must watch, must follow players, in product management. Then, he needs to follow all those people. He needs to connect with them and build a plan to engage with them. By sharing their stuff, engaging on social, forwarding posts and things they’d like he will find themselves on their radar. He’ll be in the game.
YOU’RE BRAND IS WHAT THE INTERNET SAYS IT IS
This statement is the biggest truth of the Internet and social media when it comes to changing careers. You get to determine what people see and how they view you. If you want to be a sales person, you can ensure people see a sales person. If you want to be a wine guy, you get to show people a wine guy. If you want to be a product manager, you get to show people you’re a product manager. If you want to switch careers today, you can.
Switching careers has never been easier. Don’t confuse that with being easy, because it’s not. But, it’s easier than it’s ever been before.
The 21st Century is giving us more opportunity than we’ve EVER had to manage our own success. There has never been a better time to do what you want to do. There are fewer gatekeepers, fewer hurdles, and fewer rules. The ability to go horizontally, (new career) or go vertically, (promotions) is there for the taking if you want it.
Lack of experience is no longer an excuse. Not knowing anybody in the industry is no longer an excuse. Not having the expertise is no longer an excuse. There are no excuses left, just opportunities.
If you want to switch careers, start now. Start becoming and expert in the field. Start engaging other industry leaders in the field. Start sharing the knowledge you’re acquiring on social. Build a compelling brand you around your dream job and do it all with reckless abandon.
Changing careers has never been easier. Stop waiting.
Just do it.
If you’re looking to get ahead in your current job or in a new job in today’s hyper-connected world, check out Not Taught. The rules to success have changed, to your benefit, if you know what they are.