How to switch careers: Get the interview
Tuesday, August 08, 2017
Any particularly bad day in the office can inspire us to think about a career change. But taking the next steps requires more than just a lot of bad days in a row.
Understanding whether it is the right time for a change and the reason for it are the first two important steps in the process. This last article in our three-part series will explain how to get the interview.
For some of us, networking is about as easy as asking for a raise. Changing careers, however, will be a lot easier with a little networking. And just like asking for a raise, by articulating great reasons and finding a way to present it in a way we feel comfortable, the odds of success are a lot greater.
Armed with our great story and an updated LinkedIn page, we must begin getting the word out to our circle. The goal, especially when changing careers, is to get people as excited about the change as we are. Every connection then becomes our ambassador. And with career changes, thinking outside our normal network is often the best place to start.
For example, a banker who wants to become a technical writer could easily explain to her established network of other bank employees her ability to take complex concepts like financial products and explain them in simple terms to customers. However, she could also share her story with her real estate agent, hair stylist, dry cleaner and family members just as easily — all of whom may have connections to someone who knows or works with a technical writer.
The key is to be able to tell our story to anyone because the wider we cast our net, the more likely we are for a few bites.
Job hunting is like dating. The similarities are plentiful, and when embarking on a career change one commonality is particularly important: be confident. Too many times, experienced professionals throw their transferable skills out the window and aim for jobs well below their level.
Instead of counting years of experience in the specific job, it is better and more accurate to count years of experience using the required skill set. While it may mean leaving a director level position for a manager level, it should not necessarily translate to entry level.
By figuring out how long we have been using those core skills and confidently explaining examples that translate to the new opportunity, we make it easier for our network and interviewers to understand the value we can bring to the role.
The bottom line: Career changes are becoming more common and, in turn, more acceptable. Successful career changers are clear on their why, create a compelling story and do not undersell themselves.
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