The first step you need to take when changing careers—it’s the ‘best thing’ to do, says Yale expert


Exploring a new career path can be daunting, but it's an opportune time to make a change. With the new year, companies are typically expanding their hiring efforts and post-holiday season, networking becomes more viable. Joanne Lipman, a lecturer at Yale University, suggests that when considering a career switch, it's beneficial to engage with "weak" and "dormant" ties – those with whom you have casual or past connections.

Close friends may not provide the most valuable insights. Lipman recommends seeking perspectives and new opportunities from acquaintances who can offer a different outlook or introduce you to relevant opportunities. Erin McGoff, a career educator, advises reaching out to individuals passionate about their work or within your desired industry for guidance. It's key to set a clear intention and manage expectations when networking, as the goal is to gather intelligence rather than securing immediate job offers. Being specific in your requests shows preparedness and respect for others' time.

Before starting networking discussions, McGoff suggests outlining what you're looking for in a new career, such as identifying the pros and cons of your current role and crafting an elevator pitch to guide conversations. This specific approach demonstrates your seriousness and respect for the other person's time. Networking, although uncomfortable at times, can be transformative when changing careers.

Ultimately, weak ties can provide valuable bridges to new opportunities, offering access to crucial and transformative information. Many successful career pivots have originated from such connections rather than from immediate circles.  

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