You’re in a career that just isn’t for you and you’re looking for a change, but you don’t know where to begin. Sound familiar?
Shifting careers can be tricky business. Where do you begin looking? How do you find jobs you’re qualified for in a new field or industry? Can any of the skills and experience you gained in previous positions help you in a new career? Trying to find answers to all of those questions can be overwhelming. But, don’t worry, here’s a guide to help you move forward.
Identify transferable skills…
First, begin by assessing your transferable skills. How do you identify your transferable skills? Start by looking at your job experience. Make a list of the duties and responsibilities that you have had in each job you have held. Now ask yourself what value each of these things brought to your employer. Why were you being paid to do these things? What did they accomplish for the company or organization you worked for? For example, working as a cashier seems pretty mundane, but the value a cashier provides to their employer is in the form of customer loyalty, revenue from repeat business, and minimal revenue loss from accurately charging customers and making change. So, what skills are needed to provide this value? Customer loyalty and revenue from repeat business come from providing good customer service, and minimizing revenue loss comes from being detail-oriented, honest, and having basic math skills. When you break down your previous work experience in this way, you can start to see the underlying skills that were used. Many of those skills can be valuable in other positions as well.
Use that list of skills to help find jobs you qualify for…
After you have identified your valuable skills, make a list of careers you are interested in. Then take a look at internet job boards and find some job descriptions of positions that you might be interested in. For your first search, don’t worry too much about location, just find descriptions of jobs you think you would enjoy. After finding a couple, look at the skills and qualifications needed for these positions and compare this with the list of skills that you made earlier to determine if you are qualified. If you can give clear examples of at least 75% of the skills required in the job description, and you meet any specific qualifications listed (education, certifications, etc.) then you can apply for the job. If you don’t meet the qualifications, determine what you need to get those qualifications and then decide if it is something you want to pursue. It might mean returning to school or pursuing certifications. If this is your dream job, then taking those steps could be worth it. If you don’t have the necessary experience for those jobs you found, go back to your list of careers you are interested in and choose another area. Look for jobs in this new area and follow the same steps as before. Continue in this way until you find jobs that you are qualified for.
If there is a significant gap between the experience you have and the types of jobs you want, you may have to find some middle ground. What lower-level jobs could help you gain experience towards the career you want? Keep in mind that you may need to take an entry-level position in your new industry to start on your new career path, but if it leads you to your dream job, it is well worth it.
Are you ready to create a resume to help you make your career shift? We’re here to help!