This Mind Trick can Make Switching Careers a Breeze

by Matt Goldenberg

Mind Trick
There are very few shortcuts in the career world. Sure, you can accelerate your career along a path, but there are very few techniques you can use to skip over the path all together.

I’ve shared one of those tricks before, and today I’d like to share another.

But in order to understand how and why this trick is so powerful, we’re first going to need to delve into the scientific research of a man called Daniel Kahneman.

How Your Brain Makes Mistakes

Over the past decade, scientists have begun to realize something. Humans can be really, really dumb. I know, it seems obvious, but what’s so amazing about this research (a field called “Heuristics and Biases”) is that researchers can predict exactly HOW humans will be dumb. In order to use the hack I’m about to share, you’ll need to understand two of these mistakes: Intensity Matching, and the Halo Effect.

Intensity Matching

Intensity matching is the brain’s tendency to be able to compare two completely unrelated things in terms of intensity. For instance, if I ask the question “How tall would a person be that is as a tall as President Obama is famous?” Your brain would come up with an answer… and it would be within the same range of other’s answers. Even though it seems impossible to compare height to fame objectively, your brain has an inborn intensity scale that can find the analagous number.

The Halo Effect

The halo effect is the tendency of the brain to think that because something is awesome in one way, it is awesome in many other ways. For instance, we tend to judge people we find attractive as kinder. Even though physical attractiveness has nothing to do with kindness, our brain —once we think something is good— tends to view that thing with rose-colored glasses.

The Mind Trick – Credibility Transfer

To understand how this applies to your career, just think about how intensity matching might apply to different careers. For instance, can you compare how successful a doctor is to how successful a lawyer is (at differing points in their career)? The answer is yes.

Now let’s take that a step further. If you know that someone was a very successful doctor, might the halo effect make you think that they could achieve similar success as a lawyer? Again, the answer is yes.

In short, these two features allow our prestige and credibility to transfer from one career to another, a principle I call Crediblity Transfer.

This isn’t just a purely academic exercise, my study of Self-Made Renegades has led me to find several instances of people who have jumped from a high level in one career to a high level in another… without going through all the hassle of climbing the career ladder in the new career. High level success —at anything— simply opens doors to other opportunities.

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Who Can Use This?

Credibility transfer isn’t universally applicable to every person at every stage of their job search, but there are certain people who could gain a lot from applying the principle. Read the descriptions below, and see if any of them match your situation.

The Guy Who Takes His Old Career off His Resume

I’ve worked with several students who feel the need to take every detail of their old career off their resume, for fear that it’s not “relevant.”

However, if they were a rockstar in their old job, the principle of crediblity transfer indicates that it’s actually to their advantage to show that they were credible. These students should add aspects that show credibility to their resume.

The Girl Who Is So Tired of Her Current Job That She’s Stopped Growing

There’s typically a reason that people are switching careers. Typically, I hear words like “monotonous”, “uncreative,” and “soul-crushing” to describe the jobs that people are looking to leave. And I get it, there are certain jobs, work environments, and bosses that simply don’t bring out the best in us.

However, with students who have stopped trying at their current job, I have to remind them about the principle of credibility transfer. If you’re doing a mediocre job with your current career, people will assume you’ll do the same in your new career. And if you suddenly step up and become a rockstar, that will effect your job prospects as well. Reframe every bit of hard work you do at your current job as taking one step on the path towards a new career.

The Guy Who’s Great at His Job But Can’t Prove It

Credibility transfer works through a mechanism called signaling, that is, we use certain indicators to determine if someone is credible. Sometimes, people are so focused on doing their job well, they forget that part of their job is also to find ways to signal and prove that they’re good to future employers.

With students who exhibit this behavior, our goal is to launch a mini-marketing campaign for them to start signaling they’re credible. This can involve writing for trade journals, speaking at conferences, launching a blog, or taking on big name projects. My premium training goes into major depth about the process of signaling credibility.

The Girl Who’s Six Months Away from a Promotion, but is Ready to Quit

Many times, students come to me because they’re at their wits end; they’re fed up, and they’re ready to quit without a safety net. Again, I understand, and I have deep empathy for being in a job that you hate.

I also know that getting that promotion could mean the difference between the job search taking 3 years, versus it taking six months. That’s why I’ll often recommend working hard to get a promotion, and taking advantage of Crediblity transfer, whilst simultaneously carrying on a job search.


Do any of those descriptions above match your situation? Use the simple todo list below to take advantage of credibility transfer and make your career change a breeze.

One response on “This Mind Trick can Make Switching Careers a Breeze

  1. Alejandro says:

    I am kicking myself at this very moment for not been able to see that I could use Credibility transfer to help me move out of my dead end job.

    I know about the concept from a speaker I heard that talk about him been able to be successful at his business and been able to use that success to start another successful business in a different market. The speaker mentioned that people assume that if your successful at something then you can replicate that success in other areas.

    And for the past months I just tried to do enough to so people say I’m doing a “good” job when I know that I can get those same people to say EXCELLENT WORK.

    Awesome tip Matt

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