60 years ago you went to college, got a job and then stayed there for the next 40 years until you retired. Nowadays employees want to get the most out of their work experience and if they aren’t getting what they want from their job or career industry they are more likely to look else where. Whether you’ve hit the ceiling and there is nothing else for you to conquer—or just plain and simple hate what you are doing—all hope is not lost.
Not starting at zero
If you’ve been in one field for a long time it can be hard to break into a new one. But a new career path may mean you are taking a step back it doesn’t necessarily mean you are starting from scratch. If you have worked at an insurance company for five years and have decided you have an interest in working in technology sales you can probably find a few things you already bring to the table.
Determine your qualifications
One of the hardest parts about switching industries is how to make your previous experience relevant on your resume. In order to determine what you would bring to the table in this new role make a list before you go to edit your resume. Make two lists of things you’ve done at your previous/current positions. In the first one write pretty general and try to avoid specific details, for example: Updating client policies.
On the second list take a minute and go through the other more detailed parts of the items on the first list, for example: Answering client questions about pricing. Updating policies in the system. Updating client information. Offering multi-line products to existing clients. So now you can add to your resume: Customer relations, client management and cross selling.
Have realistic expectations
Prepare to work your way up but find some comfort in the fact that you aren’t starting with nothing to offer. While having someone well versed in the business is great, many companies welcome someone with less experience in the field but the right attitude and can appreciate that you may bring a new perception to the table.
Don’t go in pretending to know everything and expect to make an executive salary. Let hiring managers know that you are ready to work your way up.
Education is invaluable. There is always more to learn and willingness to do so is a great way to show your interest, it is also a great way to test the waters to see if you want to invest the time in this new industry. There are tons of webinars, free and paid courses online about almost every topic. If your new career path doesn’t require a different degree take it upon yourself to learn more about it.
You may think networking is a limited resource that isn’t going to be effective if you are switching industries but that is not the case. You never know who knows who. Be open about the fact that you are wanting to connect with people in a certain field. Casually saying, “I would love to get into technology distribution,” to the right person might result in a business connection. People love to feel helpful. Give the people in your life the opportunity to help you.
While changing careers can be scary it is doable if you approach it the right way. So know your strengths and welcome tips to improve your weaknesses.