It’s normal to be hesitant about taking risky career moves, especially since evolutionary speaking human beings are naturally risk-averse. However, in order to be open to opportunities, Chris Smith writes for Inside Higher Ed, people must embrace the unknown.
Smith cites “loss aversion bias” as one of the reasons people are afraid to step outside of their comfort zones. People tend to perceive losses as worse than gains, even if there is a low probability of failure. However, he says, people are missing out on important opportunities if they never take the plunge.
In order to make the most of risk-taking Smith advises the following:
In order to learn, humans must interact with others. “…weak ties with people whom we don’t even know well are vital in a successful job search,” writes Smith.
A great starting point when venturing out into uncharted territory is conducting informational interviews with professionals to learn about the industry of interest. Searching on LinkedIn with the Alumni Tool is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Even though it does not count as professional experience, volunteering is a great way to get a taste of the industry or field of interest. It also builds transferable career skills and teamwork.
Immersive experiences give individuals a chance to decide if a particular career path is worth pursuing. Job simulations, shadowing and internships are all examples of experiential learning.
Smith says that starting out with informational interviews can help “narrow the scope” before diving into experiential learning.
“Most of all, realize that in uncertainty often lies unexpected opportunity and discovery,” writes Smith.
Read more about how to get comfortable with the unknown on Inside Higher Ed.
Linda Raynier give advice on how to change industries.
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