The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Advice for people who want to do a 180° career change

CareerChange-300x300Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose – author of the business and time management books TimePeace: Making peace with time  and The Book of Answers: 105 Career Critical Situations– and I am a business and efficiency coach that specializes in time management, project management and work-life balance strategies.  Stephen Wynkoop and I regularly meet on professional development topics. Our interviews can be found at Laura Rose Career Management Series

This week’s topic was “Advice for people who want to do a 180° career change”

What steps do you take to succeed?

Very rarely is that 180° degree career change.  Even when you think you are doing a complete change in careers, you carry with you a set of transferable skills that translate nicely into the next new chapter of your life.  The recommendation is to highlight those shared traits and illustrate how they were the foundations of your next step.  Don’t highlight the differences in your career choices.  Instead highlight the similarities.  Make them understand that this “new career” is the natural next logical step in your advancement (not something totally new).

Some examples of transferable skills can be (but not limited to):

  1. Organizational skills
  2. Multitasking
  3. Project management
  4. Customer Service and Satisfaction
  5. Customer Advocacy
  6. Writing/Editing
  7. Creating/Innovation
  8. Process Improvement – Quality Assurance
  9. Detail oriented
  10. Problem Solving
  11. Solution oriented
  12. Time management


Even a pastry chef and a surgeon (careers you may feel have nothing in common) will have transferable skills in common.  It is the transferable skills that make us excel in a multitude of environments.

What’s the first step in transitioning into a different career?

One recommendation is to start building your Press Kit or portfolio on your new career now, when you are still in your current career.  The assumption is that you are already following your passions in the form of a side-job or hobby.  Take that hobby to the next step.

For instance, what if your new ‘wish list’ career is that pastry chef?  Chances are that you are already baking for your family and friends.  You are already conducting catering service for your community of followers.  There are several steps you can take, while you are still in your current career.

1)    Take pictures and video of your pastry and catering events.

2)    Create your pastry website, logo and brand

3)    Create your brochures and business cards

4)    Collect testimonials from friends, family and your community

5)    Create your facebook and linkedin social media pages

6)    Take culinary classes in your desired wish list career

7)    Start blogging and send out social media posting that illustrate your expertise

8)    Publicize that you are available for catering events

9)    Collaborate with other entrepreneurs and offer to cater their catalyst events

10) Give your pastry as appreciation gifts at your office

11) Offer to cater the office parties and meetings

12) Create your pastry business plan

13) Create a resume based on your graphics experience and client testimonials

The goal is to start building and collecting the proper experience and resume, while you are still in your current career.

What if you are current a teacher’s assistant and you want to break into graphic design.

  • Highlight your training materials and your PowerPoint and graphic tools used in your previous teaching position.
  • Highlight and/or create a portfolio of your graphic designs and presentations.
  • Obtain your certification in graphic designs.
  • Offer your services to some non-profits or small business owners.  Then use their testimonials in your portfolio.
  • Update your social media pages with your graphic designs
  • Create a resume based on your graphics experience and client testimonials

The goal is to jump from engineer to management.  What steps to you take?

  • Take leadership and management course
  • Offer your services to sibling departments
  • Propose a money-saving project and lead it
  • Create a small team on your project idea and lead it
  • Accept a project management position for a non-profit or community volunteer position.
  • Update our resume with these experiences


Final tip is to create an Individual Development Plan.  Outline your gaps between where you are and where you want to be.  Identify the steps, tools, studies or certifications that you need to accomplish those goals.  And setup your milestones, deadlines, accountability partners, and reasonable forcing functions to assure success.

In the IT Professional Development Toolkit, I go into the: who, what, where, when and how to accomplish all of the above. I also have a transferable skill worksheet.

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About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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