There’s an old expression: Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. That adage provides a goal, but it also presents a challenge.
How do you turn your passions into your profession?
(Side question: Do they pay people to sleep in during the morning and eat Dairy Queen Blizzards all afternoon? Maybe there’s a sleep study/ice cream taste tester position to apply to…)
There are a few steps you can take to turn something you love to do into something you get paid to do.
You may know everything about a subject. You may have read every book and studied every blog. You may know enough to teach a class about it. But if it doesn’t show up on the “education” section of your resume, it might be hard to convince employers.
Remember: People put a lot of shady stuff on resumes. It’s hard for employers to take a person’s word for granted. Having a degree or a certification validates your knowledge and leaves little doubt in a potential employer’s mind you really do know your stuff.
The process may seem redundant, but keep in mind, if you know so much about the subject, the classes should be easy.
Get Professional Experience
An alternative (or an effective addition) to getting a degree or certification is having professional experience on your resume that validates your skills.
Getting this experience can pose a challenge, especially if you don’t have the appropriate education or a connection to the industry.
However, having one job can often snowball quickly. Once you break the seal on a career, it becomes much easier to proceed. After that first job, other potential employers see you were able to meet deadlines and deliver a professional-grade performance.
However, keep in mind that breaking into an industry sometimes requires checking your ego. It may be necessary to take unpaid positions or internships to work your way to a paying gig. That’s fine. Remember, you are building a career for the long haul, so keep your eyes on the horizon.
Get Into the Marketplace
Unless you have a degree or certification as an entry point, getting that first professional gig could prove extremely difficult. Luckily, we live in an amazing time, when the line between professional and amateur enthusiast is exceptionally blurry.
So, take advantage of the outlets available, even if there’s no immediate prospect for a paycheck. If you want to be a writer, start your own website. If you want to be a video editor, post some stuff on YouTube. If you want to build furniture, create an Etsy account.
Start a blog about the subject you’re passionate about. You can write about any topic you love. Finding an outlet like that can help sharpen your knowledge of the subject, give you an opportunity to meet like-minded people (creating potential networking opportunities for landing future jobs) and gives you a platform to show off your understanding.
You don’t have to travel this path alone. Expert advice could help smooth the path between hobby and career. A staffing firm might be a good place to start. Their advisors can provide insight into the types of education that might be most helpful in securing a foothold in the industry. They can also tell you the prospects for professional gigs and the type of experience that employers crave.