Switching your old well-worn career path for something completely different can seem like a monumental challenge. Quite often the most difficult thing about making a career change isn’t what we expect it to be. Most people looking to switch careers will make some efforts to take training courses or conduct relevant research into the new field in their spare time to improve their knowledge.
Obviously, having some sort of recent training or knowledge in the sector is a positive point that will go down well, but don’t forget that you will already have a whole wealth of valuable transferable skills under your belt that can make you look more attractive to a prospective new employer.
Many people trying hard to switch careers will apply for a job in their new chosen field and will often try their hardest to push their recent efforts to learn new and relevant knowledge needed for the role. However, because they are so keen to push their desire to switch careers, despite a lack of experience in the area, they almost always forget to push the very valuable transferable skills they have that all employers are looking for, regardless of their business sector.
Not only do you need to show employers the efforts you are going to in your spare time to learn as much as you can about a different role, but it is also up to you to show them all the skills you possess that will also be relevant and important to your new position.
Showcasing your transferable skills
If you know that you are not completely qualified for the job in hand, but you are willing to do what is necessary to gain the extra training or qualifications needed once in the role, then you must make a good job of selling your transferable skills to get your foot in the door.
Start off by identifying your skills. You will have a hard time showcasing your skills to a prospective employer if you don’t know what they are or how to define them. It also helps to find out which key skills you have that an employer will also see as being important or even vital for the role. Make a list of all your skills, including soft skills that can give you an edge, such as being a superb communicator, or having the ability to lead a team. Find out what an employer is looking for in a candidate and match your transferable skills up with their desires.
Finding a job that matches your skills
Making a list of your skills can be a very useful tool. You will have a perfect research opportunity here! Once you have created your skills list, go to an online job-board and use your skills like keywords in their search engine. Take a step back and observe whether there is any recognizable pattern to your searches. If you find that a particular sort of job opportunity keeps on popping up with your chosen skills keywords, then you may find yourself well suited to this role or industry. If it is a career path that you have considered in the past but never pursued, then it could be fate telling you that this is the right career path for you to choose for your future. It could be a career path that you have never thought of before, but it could be exciting to find out more about it.
Targeting your language
You may well realize that just about every company has their own sort of language or ways of communicating both internally amongst in-house staff as well as externally to the outside world. A company’s language may include favorite quotes, sayings or buzzwords. It can be quite easy for an employee to absorb ‘company-speak’ while working, even to a point where they adopt a similar way of talking outside of the workplace.
When approaching a new company for a change of career, you must try to remember to modify the words and phrases you use to more specifically target and mirror the new employer’s language.
The last thing you want to do is to go for an interview with your new chosen company only to look, act and sound like a poster boy or girl for a completely different company that is not in any way related to their field.
You also don’t want to leave your potential new employer trying to work out exactly what you did in the past. If you describe your current or last job using language that is unfamiliar or confusing for them to understand, then your interview could leave them feeling cold. Avoid using company jargon or industry abbreviations for skills or experience that is not commonly used within the new company or even within the sector. Try to use words that your interviewer will understand and appreciate.