How to Create Your Own Career Path

by Sophia Bera on October 26, 2017

Before going to college, you dedicated a lot of time to think about what you should major in. You likely picked schools to apply to based partially on specific programs they offered.

And now, many years after graduating, you’re feeling a bit stuck and ready to make some kind of career move. How do you figure out what’s next when you no longer want the career you decided on when you were 18 years old?

The reality is that most people don’t work in the fields they majored in, so you have plenty of opportunities to try something new and move toward a different career.

Like many financial planners, I’m a career-changer myself — if I stuck to what I studied in college, I’d be part of a traveling theatre troupe by now! Working in a variety of fields makes you an asset to the many companies that value employees with diverse experiences. Here’s how to position yourself for a career evolution.

Consider Role Changes Where You Already Work

If you like your company but are ready to take on new responsibilities, you might not have to look too far for your next job offer. Companies often like to hire from within, and you probably know of job openings before they’re widely advertised. You also benefit from being able to chat with people on that team so you can get a sense of what the day-to-day work would be like.

If you have the kind of manager who would hold you back, switching roles might be difficult and you’d need to tread carefully (and if they sabotage your attempts to switch departments, you might just need to find a job elsewhere). But if your manager wants your career to thrive whether you work for them or not, let them know of your interest in this new role. They can serve as a reference for you as you apply and interview.

Take on Side-of-Desk Projects

A good way to try out different responsibilities at work without switching jobs is to take on additional projects for other teams as your time allows. You’ll get to know coworkers outside of your department better, build up a new skill set (or hone an existing one), and possibly set the stage for a new role at your company. And if it turns out that the work isn’t for you, you can stop doing it once the project is done!

Seek Out Additional Training

If you’d like to grow your knowledge, look into conferences, classes, and certification programs. Your employer might pay for you to attend, so take advantage of that benefit!

Conferences and other training programs double as a great networking opportunity. You never know who you’ll get to talk to! I happened to meet someone in my CFP classes who later hired me to work at their firm.

Start a Side Hustle

Side hustles aren’t just a great way to earn extra income. You can gain experience in different fields, build up a whole new skill set, and make connections that can turn into full-time opportunities. It’s a low-risk way to try something new.

If you’re looking to take on more projects and earn some extra income, try posting your resume on Upwork and find your next freelance job.

Find a Great Mentor

Having someone in your corner who can advise you and connect you to the right people is so important. A mentor can help you see your strengths and find a career that highlights them.

I’ve been fortunate to have some amazing mentors throughout my career, and I love to mentor fellow financial planners who are looking to start their own businesses. If you’d like more information about my upcoming coaching group for financial planners, send an email to Sara on my team to be added to the email list!

List Your Transferable Skills

This is especially important if you’re looking for a job in a totally different field than the one you’ve been working in. While it’s not easy to totally change career paths, you probably already have the ability to take on all kinds of new roles. Think about all the skills you have that can be applied to any number of companies:

  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Video or audio editing
  • Public speaking
  • Coding
  • Graphic design and photo editing
  • Fluency in a foreign language
  • Project management

That’s just a start! What skills do you have that can land you your next job?