‘Old Dogs Want to Learn New Tricks’
Last week, I posted about the gamble involved with changing careers. In response, many people have reached out to me to discuss the challenges they’ve experienced.
The most common question?
“Where do I start?”
Here are a few tips – with the help of John Tompson – if you’re considering this big career step:
1. It’s not what you do; it’s the way that you do it…
It can be hard deciding on a new career path – but if you’re making the leap, you want to make it worth it.
The easiest way to start is by narrowing down what it is you DON’T want to do:
· What aspects of your last job did you not enjoy?
· Do you want to work shifts, weekends or unsociable?
· What do you get the most out of a job? Money? Purpose? Challenge?
· Which sectors don’t appeal to you?
2. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Even a simple likes/dislikes list is a powerful tool to aid decision-making. By identifying what it is you dislike, you naturally rule yourself out of certain jobs.
Focusing on your passions, hobbies, and aspects of your previous jobs that you’ve enjoyed, should pull you towards job roles that you’ll gain satisfaction from.
Consider sitting with a friend, or family member; they can offer an alternate perspective regarding your strengths.
Speaking to an experienced and trusted recruitment consultant can also help – especially if they operate in an industry into which you’re considering a move. They can offer insight and advice.
3. Review your Resume/CV…
One of the most effective ways to apply for any job is to tailor your CV to the position. This is particularly difficult when you are moving into a new industry. How do you make it clear that you are suitable for the role?
In the list of your experience, prioritise skills and responsibilities that would be most relevant to the new industry. If it is a management position, emphasise relevant experience and specific achievements – which will showcase the potential value you could offer.
4. The Cover Letter is Your Trump Card…
Many fall at the first hurdle. It can be difficult to show how capable you are of doing a job in a different industry, when you lack the experience on your CV.
A tailored cover letter gives you a fighting chance against the potential quick-fire reasons to reject your application.
Not only does it show that you’ve shown respect by putting time and effort into your application, it also gives you a chance to explain:
- Why you are interested in joining this particular company/industry
- Why you feel this role will suit you
- Why your previous experience, in particular, could offer something different
- The key transferable skills you have that can add value
- Why you have left your previous industry/chose a new career path
5. Update Your LinkedIn to Match What You’re Looking For
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for building your own personal brand. If you are looking to engage with your network to venture in to a new industry, approach it as a rebranding exercise.
For example, if you have always worked in the food manufacturing industry, you may have the word in every aspect of your profile.
Don’t remove all trace of your history, but focus more on your transferable experience and skills – backed by specific achievement examples.
This will make your profile more attractive to recruiters who may be using keywords to search for candidates. They will be less inclined to rule you out just from a quick glance at your headline.
A good reminder from Sheryl Sandberg: “Ask yourself: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”