The first challenge you’ll likely face? The lack sufficient experience in your new target industry.
Chances are good you’ll be competing with job applicants who on the surface appear much more qualified. As a result, you’ll have to go to the great lengths to make your technical skills and job history marketable. Given these challenges, this transition requires copious amounts of research, networking, strategy, and sacrifices in order to be successful.
The good news? Despite all these obstacles, changing career paths is an entirely achievable goal.
To help, we’ve designed a six-step guide for building a long-term career change plan to make this your move a success. Read on!
1. Define Your Objective
Before you begin to tailor your resume towards your new field, you need to fully define your end goals and ultimate objective. You need to be optimistic and ambitious. You also need to keep your expectations realistic as you begin to get to know your target industry. By clearly outlining your objective, you can develop a stronger plan of action for marketing your skills. Make them applicable to your new professional environment. One way that this can be done is by researching specific positions you’re interested. Then identify points of overlap between them and the skills and achievements you possess.
2. Prepare for Changing Career Paths
Changing industries is something that should never be done lightly or hastily. In order to successfully alter the direction of your career, you’re going to need to make necessary preparations. This will cost both time and money. As a result, you’ll need to strategically position yourself financially beforehand to ensure that your transition is successful.
For instance, you shouldn’t sacrifice the financial stability of your current position until you’ve found a solid opportunity. You don’t want to place yourself in a “beggars can’t be choosers” situation due to lack of planning. The best way to look at changing career paths is as an investment. It might not pay dividends immediately, but by investing in yourself, and giving yourself the necessary tools to succeed, you’ll be shifting your career towards an industry that will likely pay you more, but perhaps more importantly, engage you more.
3. Reposition Your Accomplishments
When applying for jobs in your new career, you’re going to want to tailor your resume towards your new industry. The key to maximizing your previous work history is aligning these older positions with the goals of your new company. At the same time, it’s important to maintain a careful balance between information that isn’t relevant to your new career path and preserving your impressive accomplishments
Just because an achievement isn’t relevant to your new career doesn’t mean it should be removed from your resume. Especially if it’s substantial enough. For instance, if you implemented new sales processes that generated $500K in revenue as an account manager, you’re going to want to include that on your document, regardless of what job you’re applying for. Demonstrating that you were competent at your previous career is still a vital part of transitioning into your new industry. So don’t be afraid to highlight past achievements to show that you can be a strong asset to the company if given the opportunity. You need to balance relevant accomplishments with achievements that are quantifiably impressive.
4. Network, Network, Network
There’s no way around it. Networking is one of the most crucial elements of a career change. You won’t get very far if you neglect it. By engaging with working professionals in your target industry, you can gain invaluable information. There are many ways to go about networking, but in the age of social media, Linkedin remains the best professional tool on the market.
Having a professional Linkedin profile isn’t just a necessity for transitioning to a new industry. It’s something that employers everywhere have come to expect from job applicants. Thus it’s extremely important that your profile is carefully put together in order to succeed. Unlike the resume, which displays your technical skills, achievements, and, work experience, the Linkedin profile is an opportunity to put a face and personality on your application.
5. Consider Continuing Your Education
In certain cases, repackaging your skills won’t be enough to compensate for a lack of experience in your target industry. For example, a marketing professional probably won’t be able to bridge the gap towards becoming an IT systems administrator based solely on their marketing skills. This is why continuing your education, is vital for successfully changing career paths.
Acquiring certifications and taking online training courses are certainly the most expedient and cost-effective methods for integrating yourself into your new field. You may, however, need to pursue an entirely new degree. Entering a new industry is one of the most difficult moves one can make. Taking the necessary steps to bolster your education is one of the fundamental ways to ensure that your transition is successful.
6. Consult a Career Coach
Consulting a career coach is another avenue you can explore. Especially if you’re unsure of how to begin to making strides towards your new target industry. Gaining insight from a seasoned professional with knowledge of the hiring process can help you prepare for interviews and develop realistic career goals. Consulting with a career coach is another valuable resource that can help with changing career paths successfully.
Changing career paths might seem overwhelming. Follow these six steps for a smooth transition.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Resume to Interviews!