For a variety of reasons, you might wake up one day and realize you’re looking for something different in your professional life. Maybe you’ve stagnated in your current position, or you’re simply bored with your work or fed up with your boss. The bottom line: You’d like to change fields, but you’re not sure how.
As Sienna Beard writes for CheatSheet.com, such switches aren’t always easy, but they can be made. In a great post titled “5 Things You Need to Do to Get a Job in a Different Field,” she offers advice for folks looking to change direction without getting blown completely off course.
Her first tip is to volunteer. Obviously, taking a volunteer position isn’t an option for everyone — not if you’ve just left a job and need to begin looking for something else — but as Beard writes, it’s a great way to build skills, meet people in the field you’re looking to explore, and show potential employers that you’re truly interested in this new direction. If you can volunteer for one of the companies you’d like to work for, that’s even better, since you might learn about job openings and meet people who can give you recommendations.
On a similar note, Beard’s second tip is to “know the right people.” While volunteering is a terrific way to network, it’s not the only way, and Beard suggests attending conferences and staying at the hotels where they’re being held. Make sure you arrive early for events, she says, and begin building relationships with contacts before you pass out your business card.
Next up, you’ve got to make sure you “get certified” and grab whatever certifications you need for the job in question. This could mean going back to school or paying for additional training, though as Beard points out, there are plenty of great jobs that don’t require these types of things, and some offer competitive salaries without requiring college degrees. (Here’s a list of 10.)
Beard’s fourth tip is to “prime your resume.” Jobseekers sometimes get in the habit of using the same resume for every position, and while this is a bad idea when you’re staying within your field, it’s even worse if you’re looking to leap into something new. Piggybacking on advice from Chron, Beard advises jobseekers to indicate in the “objective” section of their resumes that they’re looking to change fields. From there, the trick is to tailor your resume in such a way that you’re highlighting experience and qualifications most relevant to the industry you’re hoping to break into. The more you research the industry, the easier this will be.
Lastly, Beard says, you’ve got to “prove yourself in the interview.” The hiring managers will probably want to know why you’re venturing down a new career path, and they might even ask why their company should hire you. These are scary questions, but they’re also opportunities to sell yourself and set yourself apart from other candidates. Talk up those skills you have and explain why they’ll transfer to this new position. Show some passion and enthusiasm, and if you play it right, you just might win out over others with more experience.