The process of finding a new job is intimidating.
From meticulously reading over your resume, to expertly crafting a cover letter, to worrying about whether or not you’ll make the right first impression, it’s a stressful situation to be in. That process can become even more overwhelming if you’re switching career paths.
But changing your career may not be as hard as you think, says Allen Blue, the co-founder and vice president of product management at LinkedIn.
Blue made a significant career switch himself — long before co-founding LinkedIn, he designed scenery and lighting for stage productions.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation.
- Other people can be the key to success when changing career paths. “In the end you never make that career switch alone,” Blue told us.”People will help you make that transition. And the people you know right now will help you find those people. That’s the main resource that matters.” People will help you learn new things, explore new positions, and give you your first job in the new space, according to Blue.
- It’s ok if your previous experience doesn’t line up with your new career choice. Blue said he had no idea what he was doing when he transitioned into the tech and business space. In fact, many early LinkedIn employees didn’t. Social web apps weren’t nearly as big as they are today back in 2002, so the LinkedIn team had some room to experiment and figure out what worked.”There was lots of room for failing and starting all over again,” Blue said. That may not be the case in sectors that are already well-established, but don’t let the fact that you may not have experience on paper discourage you.
- Companies may even benefit from hiring someone with a different background. People with different experience may be able to attack problems in new ways, Blue explained. He recalled a human resources survey from Google he came across last year. The survey found that standards such as GPA scores didn’t matter much when it came to success — it was more about personality traits like determination. But what was interesting, however, was the fact that engineers within Google took the survey to learn more about the company’s HR practices. And the method they used produced some compelling results, even though they approached it in a different way than someone in human resources might. “Having people come in and think about problems differently is actually super valuable,” Blue said.
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