First things first. Prioritize, then stick to a consistent schedule. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job, the key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer. The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties. If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates.
Next, the candidate should research his or her new career field/job target! You need to do your research. You need to get a feel for the way the industry and respective companies function in the world, the services they provide to others, and the types of jobs out there in that industry that could pose as a potential new career. I love using Google News, Google alerts, Salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn to uncover industry and job research. Using this research can be a good way to spot industry and job keywords (for the core competencies and summary sections), role responsibilities (for the experience section), and important transferable contributions (for the accomplishments section) for inclusion on your resume
Be pragmatic about your daily job hunting activities. Know that it’s a tough market, extremely tough circumstances due to the global pandemic, and it’s sort of unknown as to how employers will be navigating the remaining hiring season as COVID continues to push boundaries and complicate certain aspects of not only hiring but retaining employees. So be patient, but stay hungry. Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc. Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, a year? Be realistic in what you can achieve. While taking chances and risks are a good thing, do not overstretch yourself into a role you simply are not a fit for (yet). What industry do you want to live in, and in what role? Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it. Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do.
Maybe even parlay that into a side hustle as part of the gig economy (lookup freelancer websites, plenty of them now like Fiverr, Freelancer, and Upwork. Enroll in continuing education courses, there’s plenty of free ones out there like Udemy or Coursera, and even some Ivy schools are offering free digital learning programs. Track all these wonderful things you learn. Read trade journals or Google news alerts of major industry players to stay on top of insights in your space. Network and reach out to like-minded people or decision-makers and build a connection. Then schedule a time to continuously stay on top of this relationship cultivation. Join forums and answer questions or pose questions to start a dialogue. Opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc. and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies. Anything and everything to continuously push ahead into thought leadership status. Knowing your value is key to cutting through the fluff and ensuring your content leaves a positive and memorable mark on these hiring managers and recruiters. The hiring process is selective for a reason — it’s time-consuming and costs a lot of money and resources from sourcing, recruiting, and interviewing to background checks, reference checks, drug tests, and finally training. A lot is involved so it’s crucial they get it right. That means, show them you care about their time. And their money! Show them you offer this value that they can use in this open requisition. Why is it open? What pains do they have because it’s open? Once you can hone in on that, you can start to massage in key-value- and accomplishments-based content that makes your resume pop and motivates these decision-makers to invite you in on an interview.
Again, and I cannot say this enough, but be pragmatic and don’t ask. Offer more than want. Rather than asking people to help you get a job or pass along your resume, ask them how can you be a better candidate? How can you improve? And what knowledge do you offer to help them out to reciprocate? Again, you also need to look out for continuing education opportunities. Seek out academic programs that can help train and prepare you for your new role while you’re in limbo. Your goal is to understand the role and industry inside and out so eventually you can become the subject matter expert. Find some new career job openings and the minimum qualifications in each, identify the possible credentials you may need to better position yourself in this new role and find online institutions that you can acquire these credentials, and list them onto your resume. Also, find membership groups and industry networking opportunities…this is a wonderful place to gather knowledge from industry pros who can help explain the nuances of your new role.
Boiling it down, think about your situation from the hiring manager’s point of view. He or she has to be pulled aside from their day-to-day at the end of the workday to review resumes and fill an open requisition. An open requisition that is either costing them money or not making them money by leaving it vacant. When they find an ideal candidate, sometimes it’s more of a cultural fit if they know they can train someone rather quickly. So trust that if it’s supposed to happen, it will. If not, keep looking for opportunities in this new space. Maybe volunteer with a group, offer a company to work for free so you can learn the ropes, or join an online forum and start engaging with individuals in that industry to gain more learning. It comes down to ‘will you make money for the new company or cost them money?’ Work hard to be the former, it will carry you farther. Prove you can do the job and a good job at that. Offer value and solutions, not abilities or skills. Everyone can ride a bike, but not everyone can ride a bike 60 miles to raise money for a charitable cause that was about to go bankrupt.
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