Embarking on a job search in hopes of changing careers brings some unique challenges. Here are some key considerations for career changers in the job search:
- Focus on transferrable skills – Don’t try to sell them on everything you have done in the past. Focus on the skills that you bring to this position that will enable you to succeed. Do you have unique skills for this role? Why should they hire you? What have you done that is most relevant to the new position?
- Track record – have you already successfully transferred to a new industry, a new department? Have you learned a new system or process? Show that you learn quickly, set high standards for yourself and quickly become an expert in your area of responsibility. Show them that you can accept a new challenge and succeed.
- Show your passion – let them know why you are so passionate about this opportunity and what you can bring to the company. Be sure not to come across as the “flavor of the month” but as someone committed to success in this field.
- Know your competition – you will be competing for this position with people who have done this job before. Sell the hiring manager on the unique strengths and perspectives you bring to the position.
- Execute flawlessly – Be sure your resume has no typos or grammatical errors. Same for your cover letter. Prepare well for the interview. Have questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Be sure to send a hand written thank you note. Every step of the process you want to stand out and be remembered for positive reasons.
- Leverage your network – Do your homework before the interview. Leverage your network to identify people who work at this company currently or did so in the past. Learn as much as you can about the company and the position. Gain insights into what success looks like in that organization. What skills are highly valued?
Managers have come to expect career changers when they post a position. They want to see someone who has done their homework about the company, the position and the career path. They want to know why you are making the change and how you will contribute to their organization. The most critical factor is fit. Do they feel they can work with you and that you fit well with the team?