I hear from so many people who are in the midst of trying to make a career change. Sometimes, the change is very slight – a writer who wants to use her expertise to write about a different subject. Other times, there is a more drastic goal – a mortgage broker who wants to use transferable skills to get into the insurance business.
No matter what the goal, this is a tough time to bridge to a career change. (I’ve written about this HERE.)
If you are a job seeker thinking of a change, some tips to consider:
1. Do your research. Know what skills your targeted job and/or employer value. Do you have those skills? Make sure you clearly communicate what you offer in your application materials. This isn’t your father’s job market – the resume that was “good enough” to do the job five years ago won’t even get you a second look today. It’s a competitive environment. If you expect to compete, you need to optimize your materials. Don’t approach the market before you are ready. You don’t want to waste an opportunity to get through the door.
2. Network! While it is ALWAYS important (for every job seeker), I contend that it is even MORE crucial for the transitioning applicant. You need to use what you can to bridge the gap between what you have done and what you WANT to do next. Meet people in your targeted field. Let them know what you offer. Demonstrate your interest and your expertise. If you are lucky, you’ll make a strong connection with a contact who will be willing to take a chance on you. This is not to suggest this is an easy thing to do. However, when you successfully engage in informational interviews, you open doors you would otherwise not have an opportunity to walk through.
3. Work it. I mean it! You don’t have the experience doing what you want to do? Get some. Today, I spoke to a writer who is planning to research and write some portfolio pieces in her targeted field, even if they will only be published (initially) on her own blog. I have advised clients to volunteer some time in order to get the experience they need. Internships are not just for college kids any more. There is no excuse for not getting the experience you need/want on your resume.
Stay tuned for more ideas…
What has worked for you? What ideas do you have to help job seekers cross the bridge to a new career?
I can help with every part of your job hunt! Need a great resume? Tips to use social networking? Interview coaching? If you need help mobilizing your networks and your job search plans, learn more about how I can help you! While you’re at it, don’t forget those social networks! Be sure to become a fan of Keppie Careers on Facebook…I’d be thrilled to have you as part of the community! Since we’re on the subject of doing something new…Are you on Twitter? Jump on and touch base with me @keppie_careers.
photo by ThomasHawk