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A question I am often asked is, “How do I switch my line of work to something else?” There is no easy answer to this but if you are determined to do so, a few things need to be kept in mind:

1. What is it that you do now and what is it that you want to do? And why do you want to change? These are fundamental questions that will determine your direction, and more importantly, your motivation for wanting to switch careers. If your education, training and experience have been in one general area, how are you equipped to make the change?

2. You will need to be able to demonstrate a considerable ability to perform well in your desired new role as someone will be taking a chance by hiring you.

3. Your best chance to make that change in your line of work is to do it with your current employer. It is almost unheard of for a new employer to put you in a line of work that you have no experience with.

So if you have a desire to move from say operations to marketing, you should first take a few courses in marketing to get an understanding of the subject; then, volunteer to work in the marketing department with colleagues on some of their projects. Contribute ideas and time and develop relationships so that when an opportunity arises, they will not only know you first-hand, but they will also know that that you are a willing and capable resource.

When I look back at the many twists and turns in my own career, I see that all the ‘extra’ stuff I did outside my normal job helped me in my new ventures.

Good luck.

– Leon Menezes

The writer is a senior HR practitioner, executive coach and professional writer.