You need the job to get the experience, but you need some experience to get the job. It’s the classic catch-22 that many job seekers face at the start of their careers.
However, when you’re a seasoned pro with years of work under your belt, it’s probably something you hoped to quit in the past. But, when making a career change, this is one hurdle that you will have to overcome, once again.
If you are looking to make the transition to a new profession or industry, there are a number of guidelines you need to follow if you want to maximize your chances of success.
Set realistic goals
There is nothing wrong with aiming high. In fact, it can often lead to great achievements. But, when it comes to applying for jobs in which you have no experience, you also need to be realistic.
The best way to do this is to break your long-term goals into smaller steps and use the first step as the target for your next career change, considering how ambitious you can be without being naïve. Think about what the next step towards your ultimate career goal should be, and don’t aim for the CEO position directly. Breaking down your goals into steps like this keeps them manageable and keeps you from feeling overwhelmed.
Prepare to take a step back
When you change careers and don’t have relevant experience in your new field, you have to accept that you will need to take a step back for a while. This could mean taking on a more subordinate role than your current position and perhaps accepting a pay cut.
However, don’t let this hindsight put you off. You can quickly start moving up through the ranks, and ultimately you’ll be working in the role or industry that makes you happy, so it’s worth the sacrifice in the short term.
Or, if you can’t afford a lower paying full-time job, maybe take a part-time job or an apprenticeship in addition to your current job to start getting the experience you need. .
Try to develop new skills
Another way to strengthen your resume when you have no experience in your chosen field is to improve yourself in the relevant areas. Nowadays, there are a number of ways to do this so that you can find the learning style that best fits your lifestyle.
You could go to college to study, attend evening classes to accommodate your current work schedule. Alternatively, you can take an online course from the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. There are thousands of inexpensive (and even free) courses available on sites like Udemy and Teachable, where you can learn almost any professional skill.
You can even start an activity parallel to your current position to help you learn new skills. For example, if you want to move into the design industry, why not practice and hone your skills in your spare time by working as a freelance.
By improving your skills in any of the above ways, you will have more talking points for your resume. Not to mention that your lifelong learning shows that you are dedicated and engaged in the new role.
Volunteering can help you gain valuable experience for your resume, while also being a great way to give back. While it can be free, you will benefit from the skills and experience later.
Plus, it can be much easier to get than a full-time or part-time position, and again, it can fit your current job perfectly. Volunteering also shows commitment and proactive decision-making, which always looks great for an employer.
That said, if you can’t find anything that directly relates to your industry, that’s okay. Pick something close, then work on developing those transferable skills.
Adapt your CV
You may already understand the importance of tailoring your resume when looking for a job, but when you don’t have a lot of relevant experience, that’s even more important.
The key to “tweaking” your resume is to focus on your qualities that are relevant to the new profession and reduce the parts focused on your old profession (as impressive as they are).
It is a good idea to carefully read the posted job descriptions for wording or phrases to adopt as well as any skills and qualifications that match the recent courses you have taken and your relevant volunteering experiences. Be sure to highlight these skills and attributes on your resume by giving them pride of place at the top, in your Profile and Skills section.
A sad reality of industry change is to encounter more job refusals than you are used to. While this is disheartening, you have to remember that refusals are only about your lack of relevant jobs and your amount of experience in your new field. Do not be discouraged ; the only way to get that first new job is to persist.
Try to be patient and remember that when you start a race far behind the competition you just have to put in a lot of effort to catch up and then get ahead. So, be proactive, build relationships with recruiters, and try to get job applications as early as possible.
While it might take a while, all you need is an interview to get your foot in the door; then make a good impression and you’ll land the job that will put you on the right track in your new industry.