What I Learned from My Career Transitions
Written by Octavia Ramirez
Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
Whether you've just started a new job, are looking to switch industries, or perhaps are thinking of ditching the 9 to 5 to do your own thing, it's critical to be prepared for the inevitable ups and downs that come with transitioning your career.
Over the last 8 years, I transitioned my career from being a clinical researcher to marketing and advertising copywriting, and now I'm a full-time entrepreneur running my own financial coaching business. Here are some lessons I've learned:
Find the Overlap to Bridge the Gap
I truly enjoyed working as a cancer researcher but just couldn't shake the desire to work in a more creative capacity. I always loved writing, but I struggled to find a way to pursue that as a full-time career.
I eventually came across a marketing communications role at a healthcare technology company, where I realized I could actually use my healthcare experience to get my first writing job. In fact, it was my healthcare experience that helped me land the role over other applicants.
When considering transitioning from one career to the next, it helps to find overlapping areas that bridge the gap between both jobs. See how you can leverage the skills and experience from your previous career to ease into your new job. For me, becoming a healthcare writer was the perfect starting point to transition into my new creative career.
Research and Negotiate Your Salary
When making a career transition, most people think they need to take a pay cut due to their lack of experience. In my case, my salary actually increased with each career transition I made.
I accomplished this by researching pay scales, job descriptions, and expectations for each new role I took on. I looked for areas in my previous work experience that I could leverage to justify my salary expectations.
For example, when transitioning from a marketing communications role to a healthcare advertising copywriter, I referenced both my previous clinical experience and my writing work during salary negotiations, despite never having worked in advertising.
It can be tough to negotiate, but I didn't want to leave money on the table.
Have Peace of Mind with an Emergency Fund
Regardless of the type of change that you're making in your career, there are bound to be some financial uncertainties that will come into play. This was especially true for me as I took the leap into full-time entrepreneurship by starting my own financial coaching business.
Having a fully-funded emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses set aside in a separate savings account gave me peace of mind. An emergency fund helps prevent going into debt and allows you to have a financial cushion to fall back on in case something goes wrong in your life or business.
Also, having an emergency fund in place takes some pressure off in case I ever decide to go back to a full-time job. It would help me take my time to find the best role, rather than just taking anything and ending up in a job that doesn't fit.
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