Changing careers is often one of the most challenging moves one can make in the professional world. In fact, there’s a myriad of different obstacles that impede a career changer, starting with a lack sufficient experience in your career path.
This a potentially life changing goal. As such it needs to be carefully undertaken from beginning to end.
As many have learned, this transition requires research, networking, strategy, and sacrifice in order to be successful. So we’ve designed a six-step guide to help today’s career changer begin building a long-term plan to make this move a reality…
1. Define Your Objective
Before you begin to tailor your resume towards your new field, you need to fully define your end goals. You need to be optimistic and ambitious. But you also need to keep your expectations realistic. By clearly outlining your objective, you can develop a stronger plan of action for marketing your skills and job history. Then make them applicable to your new professional environment. One way that this can be done is by researching specific positions you’re interested in. Then identify points of overlap between them and the skills and achievements you possess.
2. Prepare Yourself for the Job Search
Becoming a career changer 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.
For instance, you shouldn’t sacrifice financial stability until you’ve found a solid opportunity elsewhere. 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 a career change is as an investment. It might not pay dividends immediately. But by investing in yourself you’ll be shifting your career towards an industry that will likely pay you more.
3. Reposition Your Accomplishments
When applying for jobs in your new career, you’re going to want to tailor your resume as much as possible. The key to maximizing the impact of your previous work history is to align older positions with the goals and objectives of your new company. For example, if you were an elementary teacher attempting to transition into a career as a web engineer, you’d want to focus on how you integrated technology into your lesson plans, managed web portals, and how you interacted with the school network more so than your teaching methodology. At the same time, it’s important to maintain a careful balance. Cut information that isn’t relevant to your career path, but preserve impressive accomplishments.
Just because something isn’t relevant to your new career doesn’t mean you should automatically remove it. For instance, if you developed a new sales processes that generated $500K in revenue, you’re going to want to include that. Demonstrating that you were competent at your previous career is still a vital part of transitioning. So don’t be afraid to highlight past achievements. A career changer needs to balance the relevant 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. By engaging with working professionals in your target industry, and speaking with people employed at companies that interest you, you can gain invaluable information regarding what employers in the field are looking for and exactly what you need to do to market your skills and assets. Linkedin remains the best professional networking 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. Unlike the resume, which concisely displays your technical skills, achievements, and work experience, the Linkedin profile is an opportunity to put a face and personality on the application sitting on your potential employer’s desk. Our company carefully tailors your resume to whatever industry specifications you need, and may go a long way in separating a career changer from the pack of other applicants they’re competing with.
5. Consider Continuing Your Education
In certain cases, repackaging your skills won’t be enough to compensate for 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, whether it’s an internship, a training certification, or perhaps even pursuing another degree, is vital for a successful career change.
Acquiring certifications and taking online training courses are certainly the most expedient and cost effective methods for quickly integrating yourself into your new field, but depending on your long-term goals, you may need pursue an entirely new degree in order to meet the competitive demands of your target industry. As we’ve stated throughout this piece, transitioning into a new industry is one of the most difficult moves one can make in the professional world, and taking the necessary steps to bolster your education is one of the fundamental building blocks which will 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 your field and the hiring process can go a long way in helping you prepare for interviews and develop realistic career goals for the future.
Sure, as a career changer you’re going to face some challenges.
The good news? Despite all these obstacles, changing careers is an entirely achievable goal.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Resume to Interviews!