Career transitioning with a business degree

Equestrian care for aging horsesCompleting an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business marks a special moment for any Limestone online and evening program student. For many, the struggle to balance a full-time job and/or family with school leads to a deep sense of accomplishment when they finally obtain their business degree. But even beyond that, a degree provides a solid stepping-stone for the next phase of their career.

Whether you are looking to use your business degree to move up within your existing firm or transition to a new role with a different employer, a career change can be a challenge. To help, we’ve put together a short list of tips from a range of career experts around the country.

1.      Highlight your education. 
If you intend on staying with your current employer, be sure your degree completion is known. If you are transitioning to a new career, be sure to place emphasis on your education as training. In a U.S. News article “7 Steps to Break Into a New Career With No Experience” Chrissy Scivicque, career coach, says, that earning a degree demonstrates interest and commitment to a new field. And while it does not compensate for lack of experience, it’s a nice way to fill the gap.

2.      Define transferable skills.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of Quintessential Careers suggests leveraging current skills that may be transferable to your new career. Communication, leadership, and planning are some of the skills that are applicable across many career paths and when framed appropriately can help portray your experience as valuable and relevant to your new job.

3.      Maintain financial security.
A Careerealism article “5 Tips for Navigating A Career Transition Successfully” suggests keeping your current job until you’ve accepted a new offer. Income regularity will help alleviate any added stress while job hunting.

4.      Network.
Miriam Salpeter, career coach and owner of Keppie Careers, writes: “Networking is important for all job seekers, but for people in career transition, it’s even more crucial.” She recommends using social media tools to connect and build relationships with individuals that can serve as your allies.

5.      Find a mentor.
The business world is full of mentorship opportunities so be sure to use them. In her article “What’s Next? Ten Tips for Career Changers,” Forbes Magazine contributor, Kerry Hannon suggests finding people who have been successful in the field you are interested in switching into. “Everyone likes to be asked for counsel,” says Hannon.

Remember that timing plays an important role in your career transition as well. Searching for a career change within a year after graduating helps answer the inevitable ‘why now?’ and offers the advantage of timeliness. Though not true in all cases, postponing your search may lessen the impact of your new diploma.