How to network your way to a new career

There are lots of good reasons to consider changing careers. Perhaps you know you’re capable of greater things. Or maybe you have a hobby that’s evolved into a passion.

Look at Walt Disney. He was forced into a career change after being sacked from his newspaper-editing job because he ‘lacked imagination’. Then he created a little guy called Mickey Mouse…

Whatever your reason for a change may be, networking is your key to a successful career change.

Here are five tips for networking your way to a new career.

5 networking tips

1. Spread the word

Tell people around you that you’re looking to change careers – you never know what might come up in conversation.

Somebody might know somebody, who has a friend, who has a husband, who has a sister-in-law in your target industry.

Hey, presto! New contact for you.

2. Get smart

Learn as much as possible about the industry you want to move into.

Set up meetings with people who have the job you want, to discover what they do on a day-to-day basis. Use your contacts to find people you can talk to or find them online.

3. Stay social-media savvy

LinkedIn groups are a great place to form relationships with people in your target industry. Interact with group members by commenting on posts and sharing them.

Find key people that could help you and contact them directly. Don’t push them if they don’t answer, they are probably busy people. But keep looking.

Don’t forget about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – also valuable sources of contacts and information.

4. Attend industry events

Find out when organisations in the industry hold events or information nights, and go.

Social media is great for making relationships, but face-to-face contact strengthens them.

5. Go back to school

Of course, you’ll have developed a set of transferrable skills in your last job that you can take into any industry. Check out microcredential courses at VU to find out more.

But if you want to move into a job with specific technical skills, re-training may be unavoidable (think: teacher to scientist or vice versa)…It’s all about finding the right uni!

Network while studying

A career-focused uni embeds networking into its courses through work experience, industry expos, guest lectures and partnerships.

By choosing the right uni, you will be able to meet and learn from people in the know. You will also be encouraged to network online via professional social platforms. Work Integrated Learning (WIL) gives you real industry experience that helps enhance your employability, entrepreneurship and leadership capability.

Victoria University’s partnerships – with organisations such as Western Bulldogs, Melbourne Victory, Greater Western Water and Western Health – provide practical placements and networking opportunities that will give you the edge.

If you’ve been considering returning to study, but you keep talking yourself out of it, get proactive and put those doubts to rest!