How to Change Career on Faith Alone – Part Two
In the first part of this blog, we looked at what you have to consider within yourself if you want to change career but have no real notion of where you see yourself. In this part, we will look at some more practical tips on what to take on board when making such a big decision.
A new career path is usually built on steppingstones rather than one huge jump. You need to be realistic about the knowledge gaps that separate you from those who are already working in the industry you are interested in. Close as many of them as you can by acquiring the relevant skills, knowledge and qualifications. Find some way to acquire relevant work experience to put on your new resume. For example, if you decide that you want to work in the charity sector, then your occasional donation to a good cause will not be enough. Look for opportunities that will give you some exposure to the operational challenges of the sector, such as joining a charity committee or actively doing volunteer work for a cause.
Professional associations are also helpful for those who are new to the field. Many offer training, speaker events and publications to keep you updated with industry issues and encourage networking. Find something appropriate for your new career, offer your help and use the experience to boost your resume and to build connections.
Once you have decided upon a new career path, before you start sending out applications, you need to do some research. Here at Select Resumes, we get many clients who are transitioning from one industry to another because they have heard the money is better, or they are moving interstate, and a particular industry’s prospects are better there than where they have been. This is all valid and fair, but you need to do a deep dive into your chose industry before you send off your first applications. Bring yourself up to speed with the trends and challenges relevant to your new career. Pay attention to the trade press and join relevant online groups so that you can learn the buzzwords and prevailing concerns in your industry. When it comes to talking to prospective employers, aim to come across as someone in the know rather than a newbie.
Focus on networking, getting introductions to individuals who work in the field and contacting employers directly to offer your services. This more proactive approach takes effort, some luck and a convincing sales pitch to work. But it enables you to be considered on your own terms rather than direct comparison with lots of other candidates. It is also worth considering temporary work as another route into organisations you are interested in.
Prospective employers tend to be risk-averse about career changers. They may be concerned about your lack of experience, your motives for a career change or your commitment to your new career.
So, avoid getting into lengthy personal justifications for your change in career, as these often raise more questions for the employer than they answer. Instead, position your career to date as one of a natural progression as you discovered more about the things you were good at and enjoyed. Focus on your transferable skills and try to show how, even in unrelated roles, the seeds of your new career were already present.
A functional resume format tends to work better for career changers as they enable you to use the first page to highlight relevant skills and experience drawn from your entire career history.
Just because you are deciding to leave one industry or position to try another does not mean you will never return to that profession or have that job again. It also does not mean you cannot change your mind again and try yet another field or experience.
Give it a try. If you are truly unhappy where you are and also are convinced that another profession or industry will benefit you, then the worst-case scenario is that you will miss, but you will not know until you try. You will regret it if you do not take a chance. If you decide in a year that your new career path is not right, you will find a way to stay afloat. And remember, this is not just about your career; it is about your life. It is about how you are going to feel every morning in a new career. It is about how that will go on to affect your health and your relationships, and, ultimately, it is about the impact that you can make on the world through doing what you do. The stakes are high. But ultimately, they are higher still if you do not do anything about it. As the old adage goes, “If not you, who? If not now, when?”