When you’re shifting to a new career, the most challenging thing to accomplish is to establish your credibility without selling yourself too hard. An elevator pitch of who you are and what you can do seems inauthentic, not to mention braggy for a newbie. So instead of pulling yourself up, here are three strategies in proving yourself in a new industry:
Do your thing
When you can’t use your mouth, let your hands do the talking. Your actions and accomplishments speak louder than your words, after all. It’s simple: If you want to be known as a writer, then write. A financial coach? Give money advice to people. A makeup artist? Do a makeover of a friend. Get busy with doing what you want to be respected for. Sooner or later, with consistency in your craft and work, you’ll be able to build a portfolio that can speak for itself.
The one thing that you should keep in mind while getting yourself hustling out there is constant, unceasing self-growth and improvement. That’s the only way you can make your portfolio better over time. This is especially important if you’re jumping into a career that requires special industry knowledge and skills, like being a detective or an IT specialist. Don’t stop learning. Take online courses in private investigation or cybersecurity. Collect certificates. Do your work. Improve it.
Build a network
Relationships are indispensable when you’re building credibility in a new field. Aside from your work doing the talking for you, it’s the people around you witnessing that work who can speak for you. Gain the trust and respect of a few people with your excellent job, and they will be your mouthpiece in the industry. Word of mouth will cause a ripple effect over time.
Beyond the people around you being ambassadors, you also want to value relationships because they will lead you to the industry experts and thought leaders who can be your mentors. With this, you’ll discover so much in your line of work. You can learn the best practices in the industry, avoid career traps and mishaps, and most importantly, power through the struggles. Of course, there’s also the benefit of being associated with the giants in the industry, which is very good for your growing reputation. Make every effort to go to conferences and other networking events in your locale. Join communities of like-minded professionals online.
Share your struggle stories
No one likes stories of bragging. But everyone can relate to stories of struggles. For sure, in every successful project, you have encountered some boo-boos here and there. Talk about those and then your learning and action points after those failures. Post them on social media. Highlight them in speaking opportunities. Mention them in networking events. It’s tempting to keep a neat, prim facade—after all, you’re establishing your credibility—but remember that nothing is more believable than admitting and yielding to the steep learning curve.
Starting a new career is overwhelming, but proving yourself is even tougher. Don’t resort to hard self-promotion, though. Use these strategies instead. All the best!