Making a Career Change - How To Stand Out

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Changing careers can be tough, but they can also be exciting and fun. For many people, the career they chose when they first entered the job market ends up not being the career they had hoped for. For them, changing careers is a way to further their career goals and follow their dreams. The problem is that getting a job in a field that you don't have experience in is sometimes difficult. Especially in today's tight job market; those who are looking for a change are competing against applicants with years of experience.

That isn't to say that making a change is impossible. Actually, it isn't as difficult as you would think. The main thing is to use your cover letter, resume and interview as a chance to answer the questions that an employer will have. Let them see why you are right for the job and give them a reason to take a chance on you.

If you're trying to switch careers and want to stand out, here are the things employers want to know:

Show that you can make the transition as easy as possible - Employers don't want to spend a great deal of time training a new employee. One of the risks of hiring someone without experience is that they will be slow to catch on and will require more time to get up to speed. Knowing this, make sure your resume shows that you are a fast learner. Emphasize the times that you have had to work outside of your comfort zone and learn new skills. You're goal should be to show that you can adapt quickly and aren't afraid of change.

Show that you are a good investment - Every employee is an investment. Companies hire talent and expect it to pay off. Once you've identified the career path you want and the company you want to work for, do some research. Find out what challenges are facing with the company and what their goals are. Think about how your skills and experience can benefit them. In your resume and cover letter, be sure to show how you have made a difference for your previous employers. Let a prospective employer see that you understand their needs and that you are a good investment.

Show that you are committed to the change - One of the problems with hiring an employee who is making a career change is that they might jump ship as soon as something better comes along. Especially today, there is a fear that the employee isn't really wanting to change careers, but rather just wants to get a job. To combat this idea, show the hiring manager that you are committed to making the change. Let them see that you want that specific job, not just any job. You can do this by showing your enthusiasm for the job and talk about other times when you have worked with a company for a long period of time.

Show why you're a better choice than someone more experienced - A hiring manager will want to know why they should hire you instead of someone who is more experienced. Instead of waiting for them to ask the question, answer it in your cover letter and resume. Show how you have used your skills in other areas in order to solve a problem. Think about what you have to offer and show why you are a better bet.

Changing careers can be rewarding and exciting. The best way to make the change successfully is to imagine that you are the person in charge of hiring. What would you want to know about someone? What would it take for you to take a chance on them? Why should they hire someone with less hands-on experience? Ask yourself those questions and use the answers to market yourself.

Have you had trouble changing careers? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks Tcharly for the well thought out comment. Although I don't recommend using an objective statement, the rest of your advice was spot-on. Using your network to find job opportunities is always a good way to go.
  • Tcharly
    Does your school have a caerer services/placement office? They should have counselors who can help you look over your resume and may even know of local organizations who are hiring!I suggest you also research alumni from your school and see if they know anyone or perhaps work for a company you would like to work for. They can inform you about their work and the companies they work for and what they like/dislike. To actually create the resume, google has many templates that you can use as a guide. Some hints include:-Get a free email account with a  business  email. Typically these are your first name and last.  SkaterDude  or  HornyBoy4U  as email addresses won't help you being taken seriously!-Tweak your resume to reflect the job that you want. List jobs, internships, volunteering activities, memberships all related to your field. You can add other extra curriculars not directly related under  additional experience -It can help if you create a specific Objective for what you're looking for. They can be vague as  Seeking entry level position at a management company  or as specific as  Seeking  an administrative assistant position with X company .-It seems to be a toss up as to whether or not you should go with 1 page or not. Typically 1 page is all that is required (and is all that is requested), but if you have a lot of experience, then 2 pages won't hurt. -Omit  References on Request . This is a basic  no duh  sort of thing and a lot of time HR managers won't really care to contact them. (Try to keep a list of references handy for interviews in case they ask.) If you do get indications that the interviewer will contact them or if you feel you have a good shot at the job, it's courteous to let your references know. -Keep your options open. Check your local paper,,,,,, contact alumni, talk to your professors and instructors, friends, the career counselors, old places you've worked/volunteered. Most openings are never advertised because people are hired through who they know. It's maddening, but true.
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