People in mid-career stages find it challenging to land a job in another sector. But such a move might be necessary for several reasons — higher pay, exit a stagnant industry, among others. So can these professionals navigate this challenge?

Anjali Raghuvanshi, Chief People Officer, Randstad India, says such people should take certain things into account before planning a jump. One of the most important ones is that they should strive to perform to the best of their abilities in their current role, which is the key to standing out as an attractive and relevant candidate to a prospective employer, she explains.

Mid-career professionals who find themselves feeling stagnant and craving change should use it as an exciting opportunity to reshape their career trajectory, says Manu Saigal, Director-General Staffing, Adecco India.

But among the first steps they have to take is embarking on a journey of self-discovery to identify strengths and opportunities. Ask yourself probing questions about why you desire a change. Is it the appeal of a new industry, the excitement of a different role, or simply a desire for a more balanced life?

The skills a mid-career professional has diligently cultivated — such as communication, problem-solving, and project management — are versatile assets applicable across diverse sectors. So these should be identified and leveraged, she explains.

How to assess one’s strengths?
Raghuvanshi says: “Assessing strengths in new areas requires a multifaceted approach encompassing self-reflection, feedback and practical experience. Conducting a comprehensive skills inventory helps professionals identify strengths and areas for development relevant to their desired roles. Seeking feedback from colleagues, mentors or industry professionals provides valuable insights into strengths and areas for improvement. Engaging in practical activities or projects related to the new areas allows professionals to gauge their aptitude and comfort level through volunteering, freelancing or undertaking side projects.”
Saigal suggests answering specific questions to combine self-discovery with external validation. “For example, what aspects of your target sector genuinely excite you? Are you drawn to data analysis, or do you excel in building relationships? Identifying these areas of interest can serve as strong indicators of potential strengths.” She advises people to reflect on achievements beyond the current role. “Have you demonstrated exceptional problem-solving skills within a team environment? Perhaps you’ve thrived in leadership roles during presentations or effectively managed budgets.” And to gain external validation, she advises people to consider conducting informational interviews with professionals within the target industry.

The second step is to leverage the power of the person’s network. Saigal suggests that such professionals connect with peers in the desired field through informational interviews, which can provide invaluable insights into a prospective career path. Lastly, if there are skill gaps, embrace the opportunity to learn. “Explore online courses, certifications or even part-time programmes to equip yourself for the exciting journey ahead. Transitioning successfully requires dedication and effort, but with the right approach, you can embark on a fulfilling new chapter in your career.”

Raghuvanshi explains that people must understand the motivation for change and assess their desired career options to navigate this shift effectively. This entails researching potential industries and roles that align with their skills, interests and values. By evaluating their current skill set and identifying any gaps, they can develop a strategic plan for acquiring the necessary hands-on skills, training or certifications.

Networking, she points out, is a critical strategy to employ when changing careers. It can be done through industry events, LinkedIn engagement, or reaching out to contacts for informational interviews. Leveraging online job boards, industry-specific websites and recruitment agencies helps uncover hidden opportunities and connect with potential employers.

Sectors one can look at for extending transferable skills
Saigal says mid-career professionals within the Indian labour market possess a distinct advantage when contemplating a shift. “Years of experience have endowed these individuals with a wealth of transferable skills, such as communication, problem-solving and project management, which are applicable across various industries. These skills serve as a solid foundation upon which one can develop new expertise, making mid-career transitions particularly empowering.”

Giving examples, she points out that within IT professionals can look at data analysis or project management); in fintech/e-commerce the options are financial analysis or digital marketing; and education provides options in content development, online education and more.

Raghuvanshi agrees that as mid-level professionals possess a diverse array of hard and soft skills, it can aid in transitioning into various sectors and roles. For instance, individuals skilled in data analysis may seamlessly shift into roles as SEO experts with additional short-term training. Similarly, transitioning into HR recruitment requires interpersonal skills and communications skills. Consulting roles can be a viable option for professionals with subject matter expertise, while those passionate about education can excel as corporate trainers.


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