Making a Career Transition: Here’s How!
Changing careers can be a difficult decision. However, if you are making a career transition, there are things that you can do to make the search easier. Your first step in preparing for the transition is to disregard job titles as you search. That may seem counter-intuitive since you have probably been told that your resume should be catered towards a certain job opening – Yet, this is only true when you have experience that directly corresponds to that particular position. When you are switching careers, you are not promoting your direct experience. Instead, you are trying to showcase the transferable skills of your career. These aspects of your career may include experience, but your skills and training are more relevant.
The main obstacle when switching careers is understanding that you will be vying for a position against candidates who have been in the industry for much longer. Typically, those candidates have devoted their entire careers to this one practice area. Those candidates’ firsthand experiences give them experiences that they can market. And, as a result, corporate hiring managers will focus a search on those candidates – the candidates which he or she believes will be most equipped to ease into the role effectively and will prosper in the job position.
Given that the hiring manager has this focus, you need to prepare your resume and your other applicant information in a way that it makes it easy for a hiring manager to pick you for their open position. How do you show that you can make it easy for a hiring manager? How do you increase your competitive edge? When drafting your applicant materials, be sure to include the following three characteristics in your materials. There are three ways a career-transitioners can promote themselves into a new job specialty:
- Transferable Experience: Outline your experience – Your experience, though not a complete match to the requirements for the open position – will help your candidacy if you can show how you’ve thrived in other similar positions. If you can demonstrate you expertise with metrics or other achievements, you will help the hiring manager see that your candidacy is more of a match for the position.
- Transferable Skills: Demonstrate transferable skills – You should clearly and concisely describe your skills. You should describe the key functions that are relevant to your potential new job. Again, you can help your candidacy if you can show how your specific job and leadership expertise fits with the requirements of your potential new position.
- Transferable Thinking: Promote yourself – Do you have a highly specialized degree or certification? If you have an advanced degree, certifications, and/or training, you should promote those skills. Additionally, if you have advanced basic knowledge in a topic or field where you do not have much hands-on exposure, it can increase your chances of being noticed by a hiring manager.
In addition, be sure to follow these two measures as well:
- Zero-in on the industry, instead of the job title.
Again, you are no longer selling your direct experience. Concentrate on the type of company you desire. You should figure out what products/services they have, whether or not they are trying to expand, and what demographics they tend to target. Do you have any relevant experience that connects to any of those areas?
- Keep an open mind in terms of where your own expertise might fit.
Sometimes there are job functions about which you may not be aware. For example, the design industry does not just have designers; there are photographers, project managers, account managers, operations managers, production assistants, client relations experts, etc. All of these roles contribute to the industry. It is highly likely that there is more than one way for you to move into that that new practice area.
In summary, do not dismiss opportunities to get your foot in the door. Showcase your skills and ease into a position that will permit you to perform that ability. Who knows? It could be a role that is higher paying and much more gratifying.
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Are you making a career transition? Would you like some help in working through these tips? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. Or, if you are seeking a new finance/accounting position, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are seeking a position as a lawyer or legal assistant, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.