I want to talk about getting promoted by moving away – not staying in – your industry or specialty field. I know that just suggested breaking up with your college degree. And now I want you to consider switching up your specialty field or industry.
What on earth? Right?
Before you jump into conclusions, let me remind you why you are here – you are not getting promoted doing the same old stuff, and I want to give you alternatives that successful careerists have used over the years to leapfrog the corporate ladder. If you really want to advance your career, it takes not just thinking outside the box but also crushing the box altogether. I know you are up for it, because you want that promotion and your company needs your talent.
Why should you move away from your industry or specialty field?
A little perspective: Some people follow the right path and destiny for their career from the very beginning. Some study music and devote their life’s work to creating or teaching music. Some go into medicine and become the greatest doctors and surgeons of our time, helping people every single day and making advancements into medical research.
If this is you, then perhaps this strategy doesn’t exactly apply to you. You are happy and satisfied in your specialty field and aptly rewarded. Carry on.
But for those of us who dedicate years of study to a particular chosen field that was random or chosen for us by a parent, relative or counselor, we may as well expand our opportunities for advancement by switching things up and growing our expertise in more than one field. This tactic has been known to drastically increase the chances of getting promoted.
3 Reasons to Move Away from Your “Expert” Area Now
I give you 3 irresistible reasons to move away from your industry or specialty field:
- It shows your management that you are willing to try new things and take risk, the qualities of a leader in the making.
- It helps you gain a more comprehensive view of how a corporation operates and positions you better for upward mobility.
- The change itself will push you and grow you and add layers of experience and expertise onto your resume.
If that’s not enough, consider this: The people who stay in the same specialty field (that was randomly chosen for them) never get to discover their true passion and calling in life. By moving around and learning a new industry, not only are you increasing your chances of getting promoted, you may find a line of work that is ideal for your strengths.
Now that’s worth striving for.
The number one question I get from my clients when I make this recommendation on their career is this:
“I can’t just throw it all away to start over! It would be a waste!”
~ Reaction from clients on moving away from specialties
– First, you do not “throw it all away” to start over in a new career path. Every time you move from one industry to another, whether it’s from engineering and IT to writing or from sales to management or even going form medicine to law, you take your skills with you.
Your skills and knowledge transfer with you even if you do not use them in your day-to-day work as you learn the new skills. Later on, it will be to your advantage to have those skills, and you can always return to your line of work or industry.
– Second, if you are rigid and do not want to switch your industry, that’s fine. But ask yourself if perhaps you are also rigid in other areas of your career and does that have anything with you not getting promoted?
I talk about the importance of being flexible more later. Suffice it to say: It’s super important to exercise flexibility if you want to move up that corporate ladder.
Just to give you a personal example, even with electrical engineering degrees, several technical certifications and a decade long career in IT, I never ever belonged there. I was successful but unfulfilled, and yes I managed to climb the ladder but with more flexibility, I would have climbed even higher – as my peers did. I switched industries and specialty fields completely and found my sweet spot today as a speaker, writer and business coach. What if there’s a lot more out there for you and not just for getting promoted but for being happier?
You see, you have not wasted your time because you were not meant to have just one career. Perhaps, the first one started out really well and then you lost interest. Or perhaps it was a misfit from the start, despite your best efforts, not to mention your continued loyalty.
Wherever you may be on that path, do not think of changing your field of study or work as a failure of any sort.
You are human and your interests and your passions change over time.
Experience enriches you and all of your work has contributed to that experience and brought you to this place in your life. Nothing should get in the way of doing that, especially if the first chosen field is no longer fulfilling you and a potential new one could.
You can use the experience and the knowledge and the information, no matter which field you start with and where you end up. If you think creatively on how you can use your information from one industry into another, you will be more valuable in the target industry than anyone else. This is the stuff that gets you on your management’s radar, and then you need to know what to do with it so they pick you as the ultimate candidate for promotion.
What is your number one desired field of specialty to switch to? Think about it and ask yourself what is holding you back from going in that direction? Come up with at least 3 answers.