Katlyn Kohler on Swiftly Getting Up to Speed in a New Industry - Changing industries

Katlyn Kohler on Swiftly Getting Up to Speed in a New Industry

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As we move through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it increasingly feels like a full-time job just keeping up with the changes in economic conditions, marketing technology and regulatory environment — and that’s if you stay in the same industry.

The idea of changing industries? Downright terrifying.

Katlyn Kohler knows how that feels — she just made the leap herself, leaving behind HR tech to forge an exciting new path into fintech as the marketing manager for DealCloud. She shared some of her favorite tips to make that transition period as short and painless as possible.

Question Constantly

Being upfront with the fact that you’re switching industries and still learning is a great way to open yourself up to advice and to reduce the pressure you put on yourself to be perfect. “Being excited to learn and knowing you’re always going to be learning is going to make you a lot less scared of opportunities,” Katlyn says. “Some people are afraid to admit that they don’t really know what they’re doing. I understand that feeling, but it doesn’t help you not to ask the hard questions — or the easy ones!”

Your peers and coworkers are the most valuable resource available in any job. Do your best to actively absorb the information they share. This can mean asking follow-up questions, or it can mean taking notes. “I realized that by writing down what I don’t know and then writing down what I learn, I’m actively engaging with the material and it becomes more solid in my mind,” Katlyn says.

If you need even more incentive to ask, consider this: A smart, incisive question can impress the questioner even as it educates you.

Dive in without Drowning

Active learning is effective, but it’s also exhausting and sometimes overwhelming. Katlyn recommends looking for podcasts and newsletters that help you passively absorb information on the new industry: “There’s so much content out there to consume. I love podcasts — even if I don’t fully understand the information all the time, I’m still learning in a format I enjoy and that resonates with me.”

By integrating the information in your life passively, you can catch up on the ins and outs of the industry faster, and in a much less stressful way. “It’s like learning a new language by watching a new TV show,” Katlyn says. You might miss out on some of the more intricate details, but just by surrounding yourself with the content you become increasingly familiar and comfortable with the concepts and language.

Trust Yourself

It’s not just the first week that is nerve-racking. In fact, impostor syndrome often gets worse with time. Katlyn recognizes many people will always be their own worst critic. She suggests acknowledging that changing industries is a genuinely challenging task and cutting yourself a little slack: “It can be a little demotivating to feel like you took a step back, or you’re not as far along as you think. It’s important to have a good attitude, admit you don’t and won’t know everything, and grant yourself grace and humility when you do trip up.”

Remember: Comfort and knowledge can’t be planned or put on a deadline. “It might not be overnight, and it won’t happen when you think it will. But it will happen. That relaxing feeling of realizing you know what you’re doing will come.”

Mary Ellen Slayter is CEO of Rep Cap. Before creating her own content marketing firm, she served as director of content development and a senior general business and finance editor at SmartBrief, a leading publisher of e-mail newsletters. Before joining SmartBrief, she spent 8 years at The Washington Post, where she authored the Career Track column and worked as an editor in the business news department. You can find Mary Ellen on Twitter @MESlayter.

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