Changing careers can be exciting but challenging. You may face problems due to the absence of necessary qualifications in the new field. As Zig Ziglar said, “Where you start is not important as where you finish” and "You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” These quotes are not only inspiring but life-changing. It is important that you stop waiting for things to happen. So stop merely searching for your dream job and start doing it.
The process of job search can be long and arduous for those who wish to switch to another industry to find new work opportunities. Changing industries requires detailed planning with a checklist of tactical steps that will help you increase the probability of finding a job in a specialty other than yours. Let us take a look at useful ways in which you can prepare yourself for a career change.
- Start by emptying your cup – If you are not well-versed with the industry you wish to join, you can start educating yourself by reading books, joining associations and attending trade shows and other events. Learn as much as you can. Also, reading newsletters and visiting industry websites will allow you to stay updated with the latest trends and technologies.
- Make contacts to expand your network (both online and offline) – It always helps to connect with people and use their expertise to find out about opportunities in the job market. You should focus on building a strong network of influential people in the field that you wish to enter. Find unique ways to approach them and once you build a connection you must maintain it. For instance, if you are an engineer and wish to become a writer, you can always get in touch with influential people from the field of journalism and offer to contribute for their online editions. This way you can set the ball rolling.
- Deconstruct your resume and tweak it – Before deciding to switch, make sure you have certain transferable skills that can be utilized in your new industry. Once you know of the capabilities that will prove to be useful in your next job, begin to highlight them in your resume. Do not use the standard format of CV and cover letter because that is designed to highlight your work experience first. For a career change, the hero of the CV should be the transferrable skills. Recruiters always scan your CV to see how your past work experience matches up to their current needs.
- Seek to convince, even if nobody wants to listen – You must get ahead of recruiters who just want to consider job applicants with specific industry experience. You need to convince them that the experience you gained from your former stint is relevant enough to teach you adequate functions for this one. When you spell out how your experience can translate into usefulness for the industry in concern, it will outweigh the lack of time devoted to the particular specific field. So you can begin to find a common thread between the two jobs and base your strengths on this similarity.
5. Learn their language – When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you’re going to enter a new domain, it is in your best interest that you minimize the impression of you being a fish out of water. It is advisable to interact with industry professionals, read blogs and later search about jargon and their meanings in the new sphere. This may seem like it would bring superficial results, but to begin with it will give the hiring managers enough confidence to keep conversing with you during a telephone interview. The idea is not to be dismissed upon the disclosure of non-familiarity with the subject. Talking in their terminology will help you show that you serious enough and are ready to learn. You must also insert these terms as keywords in your CV to help the Applicant Tracking System acknowledge you.
6. Expect to take a step backwards – Your professional career may have been stellar till now, but when it comes to professional satisfaction, higher pay or a better work-life balance another industry could win your heart. But you may be expected to give up a lot to make this switch. Sometimes even the most beneficial transferrable skills might not be as supportive in a new industry as in the old. When the recruiter learns about this, there are chances that he will try to negotiate your position and salary. You should be willing to listen to your potential employers when they pull those strings. Don't be hell-bent on a promotion or pay hike. However, do not just give away all of your seniority and life-long efforts only to get a foot in the door.