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Mentor Power Hour Recap: Ashley Stahl, Career Coach and TEDx Speaker

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During last week’s #LevoMentorPowerHour with career coach Ashley Stahl, we noticed a theme: Many smart, ambitious people are getting ready to make exciting changes in their career, switching industries or career paths altogether. Below, we’ve recapped five reader questions about taking the leap—and of course, Stahl’s ever-insightful answers.

What are key deciding points to consider when debating to a) leave a company b) start your own business? E.G.

Ashley Stahl: If you’re called to start a business in your soul, it’s a MUST–DO! What I do lights my heart on fire and you deserve that, too. That being said, it doesn’t have to be so black and white. Start your biz and take a part–time job. The part–time gig can be something that serves your overall mission. If you’re going to be a solopreneur, look for something part–time that supports that…perhaps a job in branding. I am ALL about the part–time job for new entrepreneurs, as it gets you out of desperation. Needy is creepy and clients don’t want that smile emoticon. I would also hire a business coach—you don’t need one; they just make things happen cleaner and faster if they’re really good.

[Related: 15 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Freelancing Full-Time]

I’m currently in a management-level position and am looking for a new position doing the same kind of work in a different industry. I’m finding that I either have too much experience for most open positions, or too little for the higher positions. How do I navigate being in this middle ground? —S.S.

AS: Career pivots are the best. The only issue is the belief that you have too much or too little of anything. The right employer will totally get you and will want your valuable experience. To me, this just means perhaps you can be networking more. People will take a chance on you when they like you, as likability is a huge factor in hiring. I would take this as an invitation to network a bit more!

[Related: What No One Talks About When Making a Major Career Change]

5 Tips to Change Careers Flawlessly

What advice do you have for who would like to transitioning into a different career path? I find that while I do have lots of relevant experience, it can be hard to break through the clutter of applicants who have more direct experience in the field I would like to break into. —L.G.S.

AS: First, networking. Second, brand yourself. You can brand yourself through writing articles online for awesome places like Levo, or you can do so through volunteering, taking classes and joining meet–up groups. Use this experience on your resume and in your networking conversations! If you don’t have the experience, CREATE it! You’ve got this.

[Related: The 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Changing Careers]

I’m looking to move into a different work sector but I don’t have much formal experience in it. What can I do now that will help my next job be a step in the right direction? —K.W.E.

AS: I would really think about what skills you’ve built (skills are more marketable, industries can be irrelevant) and how you can translate that into your next step. I would also explore joining groups, or taking a course, if you feel it would serve you. You can even add those courses or groups as branders on your resume.

[Related: The Challenges and Strategies of Changing Industries]

Should I apply for jobs even if I don’t technically meet the requirements but possess transferable skills? I’m exploring the possibility of moving into an industry in which I don’t have specific experience but am thinking that I may have the necessary building blocks. —S.R.

AS: Networking is more powerful for this. Ditch the applications and start scheduling calls and coffees with the power players!

[Related: 13 #NetworkingFails We’re All Guilty of (And How to Fix Them)]

Photos: Alys Tomlinson / Getty Images; Courtesy of Ashley Stahl

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