Are you looking to change careers? No matter if you're unemployed, thriving at your current job, or somewhere in between, it's a good time to act. Why? The economy is recovering—at least that's what the business pundits say—and employers are beginning to add a few jobs to their payrolls.
So, here are three bases you must cover well in your search for a new career:
- Define your transferable skills. In other words, make a clear connection between your present and your future. Write a list of the skills you've accumulated up to this point in your career. Then, write a list of the skills that will be needed in your new career. Highlight those that are exact or near matches. For example, editing and writing skills from a career in journalism can transfer well into a marketing environment.
- Utilize the cover letter. Your resume alone may not be enough to convince a hiring manager that, even without direct experience, you're qualified for the new role. That's where your cover letter comes in handy. Use it to tell the hiring manager how your skills and experience from other industries can help the company. It's better that you point out that connection than assume they'll figure it out. The more you've thought about how you can make the switch, the better you can articulate it. Using the example above, you might write something like this:
My 10 years of editing and writing experience in print and online media would fit very well with the email messaging, content editing, and copywriting needs of the position.
- Work your network. Check your LinkedIn contacts, your address book, or your old Rolodex. Do you know anyone who works at a company you'd like to work for? Or anyone who can introduce you to someone at that company? Do you know or need to find someone who works in a position or industry you'd like to work in, who can give you valuable information about what it's like? These are the kinds of contacts you need to make—online and in-person—to ensure that the change you're considering is the right move for you.
Of course, changing careers usually isn't simple, and there are more bases you need to cover. But these three are very important as you weigh such a critical decision. You don't want to make the switch having left any questions unanswered.
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