How to Reinvent Yourself for a Career Change
By Taylor Varco
Change is an exciting word. But, it’s also a little bit scary. If you are looking for a change in employment; a job that will be rewarding and make you excited about heading to work each day, that job you seek may not even be on your radar. How do you make a career change when you have no experience in the field you want to enter?
For most career changes, one question you’ll be asking is “How will I reinvent myself?” or “How will I present myself as suitable for this new venture?” Reinventing your career requires thinking outside of the box. You’ll need to focus on hidden talent and skills that you’ve acquired throughout your work experience and personal life.
There are a few key things you can do:
- Determine the Qualifications
You can absolutely reinvent yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can blatantly lie about your experience and qualifications. You can emphasize the right key skills on your resume, perfectly tweak your cover letter, but there is one big thing you need in order to get your foot in the door, and that is ensuring you have at least the basic qualifications.
This may require some work on your end. Do some research and familiarize yourself with the basic requirements of the position you’re seeking. Perhaps this means you’ll need to go back to school and further your education, maybe pass a particular certification, or it could be as simple as signing up for a single seminar to pick up a new crucial skill.
- Evaluate Your Strengths
Start off by writing out a skill list that includes all your soft skills, as well as hard skills. This can include things like teamwork or problem solving—those are great skills to have! For example, you may be excellent at front end mechanical design and engineering, but employers want to know if you have the critical thinking and communication skills to collaborate, motivate, and elevate a project team to complete construction execution. Write down instances where critical thinking was something you tapped into. If you are a skilled communicator, you’re in luck. One of the top skills employers look for is good communication, both written and verbal.
If there are any hard skills that you think would be helpful in the new position, it’s important that you strongly emphasize those. This could be your experience analyzing data or knack for technical writing. If you think it would be a benefit—play it up!
- Own Your Story
If you’re willing to uproot your career in favor of something completely new, you bring one thing to the table not every candidate has: passion. This sets you apart from many others in the pile of applicants. Don’t be afraid to share your narrative, whether in a cover letter or interview, about how you eventually arrived at where you are today. It’s a clever way to tie in your job history, while being engaging and memorable.
- Make Connections
After all the resume tweaking and communication strategizing, there is one more thing you can do: reinvent your network. This doesn’t mean burn bridges with your current connections, it means make an effort to reach out to professionals that currently work in the industry you are seeking. Connect on LinkedIn, send introductory emails, and even ask to meet for coffee with peers. New contacts will pay off when you’re trying to break into a new career field.
Changing careers can be tricky, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on getting your resume to the top of the pile. Being clear about your goals and steadily moving forward on your plan can get you there.