A career change is often challenging for professionals who may not possess all the skills and qualifications desired by employers. You still have a chance at success if you leverage your transferable skills to show potential employers that you are the best candidate for the job.
Identify Your Skills
The best strategy to make your career change as smooth as possible is to identify your existing skills. Make a list of the software and hardware programs you have used in past positions, evaluate your customer service or client relations experience, and make note of any management experience you have had in previous positions.
Analyze job descriptions of desired positions within the new career you are seeking. Look closely at what employers desire in an ideal candidate, and compare your list of skills with the job description. Your transferable skills could be the best option to get your foot in the door.
What Are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are actions, knowledge and experience that can transfer from one type of career to another. For example, if you have experience as a teacher but want to move into sales, you can highlight your ability to communicate well with parents, administrators and students and show how these skills can help you create relationships with potential clients and buyers. A former teacher also has experience setting curriculum goals and planning lessons, whereas a sales professional needs the skills to set sales goals and plan scripts and sales actions. Avoid ruling out the importance of your skills when launching a career change. It is likely that you have the experience and transferable skills that make you a qualified candidate.
Use Skills to Your Advantage
The key to a successful career change is in the way you sell yourself as a potential employee. Customize your resume to include positions that make use of transferable skills so the hiring manager can evaluate how your experience benefits the company's productivity and profitability. Use your cover letter to illustrate how your transferable skills make you the perfect choice for the job. Do not rely on the hiring manager to make the connection. Instead, give examples of how your achievements and success in other industries can carry over into this new industry.
Gain Specialized Knowledge
It is likely that you are still lacking some skills needed for a position with the industry. Make the effort to gain this knowledge. Look into continuing education courses available at local community colleges or universities. Attend professional development workshops not only to learn more about computer software and hardware programs, but also to meet people who work within the industry who can give you tips or advice on how to break into the industry.
Tap Into Your Professional Network
When you embark on a career change, you need help from your professional network to enrich your opportunities. Attend networking events in the local area to meet professionals who work within the industry. You may even be able to request a referral or recommendation from someone who is well-respected and knowledgeable about companies you prefer to work for in the future. Prepare for these events by crafting a 30-second elevator pitch that highlights your transferable skills and experience to launch discussions and conversations.
Utilize Social Media
Brand yourself as an expert or professional in the industry by creating professional profiles on social media sites such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Make connections with professionals, join online groups that focus on your new career and reach out to recruiters who can suggest job opportunities for you. Highlight your transferable skills within your professional bio, and build an online portfolio to showcase your experience and sample work.
A career change can seem daunting at first and may lead you to question your qualifications. However, it is likely you already possess many of the skills and experience you need to succeed within your new career. Focus on skills that transfer from one industry to the next to sell yourself to potential employers and land the job of your dreams.
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