A career is more than just making money. It directly impacts your quality of life, reflects your values, and can affect overall life satisfaction.
If you find yourself wanting to make a career transition, while it may be a difficult task, it’s totally achievable–especially when we cultivate communities of support. By learning to appreciate the value of networking, a career transition could be much smoother than you think.
Our Guest: Career and Leadership Expert Kimberly B. Cummings
On the latest #WorkTrends podcast, I spoke with Kimberly B. Cummings, a career and leadership expert who helps women and people of color navigate the workplace, earn more money, and become industry leaders. Her leadership development company, Manifest Yourself, LLC, provides organizations with tailor-made solutions to hire, develop, engage, and retain women and people of color. She has spoken at SXSW, Warner Media, Princeton University, Salesforce, and Thurgood Marshall, and her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, MONEY Magazine, Business Insider, Fox 5, CNBC, and more.
Kimberly understands that a career transition can come in many forms, whether that’s moving from one industry to another or simply changing your title. But no matter what transition is occurring, the first step is to generate a positive mindset so as not to hold yourself back.
“Many times if you’re feeling stuck in a role, that mindset is a reflection of you not understanding what the possibilities are for yourself. And not believing that you’re able to get to that next level in your career,” Kimberly says. “It’s easy to feel stuck when you literally have no idea what it is that you like, that you want, that you’re good at, or what that would even look like in the workplace every single day.”
One strategy to pull yourself out of that mindset is to focus on your good qualities and skills, then set goals for the future.
“We need to ask: What are our strengths? What would happen if we built a career and a brand based upon what our strengths are?” Kimberly says. “What do you want to be known for?”
Network and Be Realistic
Once you’ve determined the career transition you want to make and the strengths you want to highlight, the best course of action is to continuously share that path and your goals with the world of work. Develop relationships that recognize your value and help promote you, and make sure those connections are varied and wide-ranging.
“You need peers, so people who help you day-to-day in your job,” Kimberly says. “These are the people you’re collaborating with. And I always say, you need internal and external connections. You don’t want to just build your network in your current company.”
Once the networking has reaped its benefits and you find yourself in a job interview to make that transition, it’s important to be realistic about what you have to offer and how you could appear valuable to potential employers.
“Ask yourself, are you qualified for the job you want? What transferable skills could you use to help you make your next move? And think about the stories you can tell that could connect you to that job more deeply. What have you done that will help you navigate that opportunity better?” Kimberly says. “When you’re interviewing and really convincing an employer that you are prepared for that job, it’s really all about storytelling. Putting yourself in the shoes of someone who would be able to navigate that workplace environment.”