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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Career-changing strategies that worked

Today's job market is full of experienced candidates. Are you one among them? The answer may be no, especially when you are changing a career to a new field.

It's not at all unusual for a hiring manager to be looking at a pile of 200 resumes for each opening. Some of those candidates are going to have exactly the industry experience they're looking for. So if yours doesn't, why shouldn't they throw it out?Wait! Before you throw in the towel on trying to change careers, consider these tried-and-true methods. One of them, or some combination, might get you where you want to go.

Try temping. Since you're at a disadvantage without industry experience, an obvious solution is to get some. Sign on with a temp agency that specializes in the field you want to enter. You'll probably have to take a step down in pay, but it gives you the chance to prove yourself. The important thing is to get a foot in the door.

Be ready to talk up your portable skills. What have you done well that a different type of employer might be able to use? If you've succeeded in sales, customer service, or business analysis in any industry, you can do it almost anywhere else.

Go back to school. Taking courses in your chosen field not only teaches you the business and introduces you to new people, but "the classes count as experience on your resume, since you're learning the business.

Smart. But don't forget to look close to home as well. Do you have the wrong personality for sitting in front of a computer all day? You need to like human interaction!

Look for the right match. Big-company denizens looking to change careers often overlook smaller firms, including startups. That's a mistake. Big companies usually have more rigid job descriptions. Your best bet might be companies with between 100 and 300 employees, which are big enough to have opportunities but small enough that individual roles are more broad, fluid, and flexible.

Keep trying. Don't be afraid to knock on doors and tell people why you would be valuable in their company.

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