How the Job Search Rules Are Different for Career Changers - Brought to You By eLearners.com
Starting over, mid-career, is a tricky process. But if you do it correctly, it can be the most rewarding change you've ever made. According to career coaches, Ayn Fox and Michael Cushman, adaptation is the key to professional reinvention. Career changers need to acknowledge their unique position, and adjust their job seeking strategies accordingly.
Here are 3 ways in which job hunting rules are different for career changers:
1. Your Resume Is Less Important
Too many career changers fret over resume details, thinking small tricks and tweaks might get them noticed. In reality, a career changer's resume isn't worth much, without some prior introduction. Career coach, Michael Cushman, agrees. "On paper," Cushman levels, "you can't compete. It's very unlikely that you will open a door with a resume."
The solution? Create opportunities to meet influential people. Go to conferences, meetings, and book readings. Demonstrate your competencies. Look for volunteer roles, or take a part-time job at a company that represents your new field. Once you're acquainted with industry decision-makers, your resume will carry more weight - regardless of which font you choose.
Ayn Fox suggests another route. "As an alternative to a resume, try a job proposal. If you've done your research, and you know the challenges that a company is having, create a proposal that illustrates how you can provide value."
2. Your Experience is Less Important
When you're applying for a new job in a familiar industry, it's great to emphasize your experience. Prospective employers will be interested in your story - or history, as it were. But for career changers, the smart approach is to "know the future." Cushman advises his clients to ask themselves, "where is this industry headed? How can I help this company lead the way?" Try to steer the dialogue away from 1988's occupational trials and travails. Instead of sounding seasoned and experienced, you'll just sound old.
So how do you become someone who "knows the future?" Fox urges job seekers to attend industry events and read the professional journals. Familiarity won't happen overnight, but if you're truly moving towards a more fulfilling career, you'll at least be engaged with the news and debates at hand.
3. Your "New Guy" Status Can Be an Advantage
If you're straight out of college, being the new guy is usually a disadvantage. At 22, you're just like thousands of other recent grads. But when it comes to career change, being the "new guy" is actually a good thing. People assume that you're bringing useful skills from your former industry, and they're more inclined to show you what they know.
Cushman tells career changers that it's okay to embrace the "student" role, as long as they've made an effort to become knowledgeable beforehand. Learn the layout of your new industry, in terms of its size, key players, growth rate, trends, business drivers, typical customers, and forms of competition. Learn what's going on with industry technology. Investigate famous people in the industry - including top CEOs and consultants. And of course, learn the industry's jargon.
After all that, you'll come across as the informed new guy. Your preparation will make a favorable impression on interviewers and new coworkers. You will be capable of asking intelligent questions, which will make conversations flow smoothly. "Just be careful," Cushman warns, "not to come across as the smarty-pants new guy."
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