Making a career change isn’t easy and shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, you also shouldn’t feel trapped in your career if you’re not enjoying it. There are a lot of options out there!
This 3-step guide on how to make a career change should help if you do decide to take the leap.
Before we start, it’s a good idea to do some research about the new career you’re considering. The grass is always greener on the other side, so the new career you have in mind might not be exactly what you think it is. You should talk to people in the industry you’re looking at. This is the best way to find out what the job is really like.
This will also serve a second purpose: It will help you start building your network in this new industry.
3 Important Steps For a Successful Career Change:
1. Start Networking.
If you don’t have any colleagues in your field of choice, how will you gain access to the best opportunities? Every job candidate can view and apply for job postings on Monster and other job sites. You need to set yourself apart, especially if you have no direct experience within your chosen industry. Networking is the best way to gain access to great opportunities (often before they’re even posted on job sites).
In order to build your network, you should start attending relevant conferences, presentations, etc. You will want to use this type of setting as a way to meet as many new like-minded people as you can.
Preparing an elevator pitch is a great way to make the most out of these situations. Read the last section of this networking article that I wrote if you’re looking for specific tips on how to create a great elevator pitch that you can utilize with anyone you meet.
Once you have some connections, tell them you’re looking for new opportunities and ask if they know any companies that are hiring. This will help you identify companies to submit a job application to and might even get you in direct contact with a few hiring managers.
2. Identify Your Transferable Skills.
No matter how drastic, your career change should never be viewed as starting over or going back to square one. You’ve learned a lot through your previous work, and it’s your job to identify the skills and experience that is relevant or transferable. This is the type of experience that you’ll need to highlight when interviewing. You also need to highlight this on your resume (see tip #3).
Start by writing down a list of your 20 strongest skills (or more) that you’ve gained throughout your work experience. Recent experience is better; hiring managers tend to look more closely at what you’ve done lately. This can include technical skills (example: Microsoft Excel), as well as indirect skills (such as management, writing, etc).
Try to come up with at least a few transferable technical skills as a part of your list. Technical abilities tend to hold more weight on a job interview or resume. Once you have 20 skills identified, it’s time to put this information directly onto your resume…
3. Customize Your Resume.
The primary goal of your resume should be to demonstrate that you have the skills and experience necessary to perform a set of job responsibilities. Hiring managers usually aren’t using your resume to judge soft skills like intelligence and work ethic.
Each resume you submit should include a list of job-specific skills that you’ve tailored to match the position you’re applying for. The good news is that I’ll tell you exactly how to do it:
Start by taking the list of 20 skills that you identified and comparing it to the job description. You need to find areas on the job description that are similar to your skills and experience. Once you’ve found a few skills that overlap, you’re ready to add this information to your resume.
The best place to list these skills is within your recent work experience. Hiring managers tend to focus on your chronological work history and often skip over a general career summary or objective. Even if they do spot something that they like in a career summary, they’ll want to know which previous position involved the use of that skill.
After you’ve completed this step, you’re ready to submit your job applications and start interviewing!