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How To Transition Into A New Career

Updated on May 27, 2014

Have you ever wanted a career in a field, worked hard to get there, and then realized that it’s not what you wanted? Many people have and it can be very difficult to transition to a different field, especially if it’s completely unrelated to what you are doing at the present. So how do you go about switching and reflecting this on a résumé? Here are some career transitioning tips that I implement that might help you:

Research your new desired career path.
Research your new desired career path.

#1: Research your new desired career path, and find the similarities in skill sets, “transferrable skills” needed for the new career versus the one you are current working in.

Let’s say you work in human resources but want to transition into marketing. You might find that marketing managers need technical skills such as CRM (customer relationship management) databases, experience with SEO and lead generation. As human resources recruiter, you probably are already using some sort of CRM database to keep track of employees and you can emphasize on your résumé how using relationship management systems enables you to efficiently streamline your employees. If you work for a staffing agency, then it’s even easier because a part of your job is generating new leads! In this case, it is beneficial to point out that the only variable that changes between H.R. and marketing lead generation are the types of customers.

Gain experience by doing externships, freelance projects, temp work or volunteering.
Gain experience by doing externships, freelance projects, temp work or volunteering.

#2: Start gaining experience in your desired field by doing externships, freelance projects, temp work or volunteering.

Transitioning can be difficult. What if you already have a full time job? Surprisingly, it is easier to contact higher-level managers and appeal to them about your intentions to gain experience in their field as opposed to subordinates with limited decision-making roles. The difference between externships and internships is that externships may be shorter terms than internships. Externships can take place in one day/weekend/week as opposed to internships, which tend to last for a term of 3-6 months. Freelancing through sites such as oDesk and Elance will give full time employees and opportunity to gain experience and get paid doing so. If you can afford to change your employment status from full time to part time, temp work is also a great way to transition into your new role, until a full time offer comes along. Finally, volunteering is a great way to get started! It will show your potential employer that you are completely focused on gaining quality experience and training in a field you are passionate about, and not just looking for something different.

Revamp your résumé and tailor it towards desired position.
Revamp your résumé and tailor it towards desired position.

#3: Revamp your résumé and tailor it towards that desired position. Start by identifying in the desired job descriptions those transferable skills that they are looking for, and show how you applied them at your current place. List the overall impact that you had on your department, and how you overcame any difficulties in your current job that you feel will make you a strong candidate for the position you’re applying. Did you increase sales? Improve a customer service process or quality assurance? Did you introduce a new way to perform a task? Most important, show how passionate you are about the role!! You would be surprised how a résumé full of statistics and numbers gets dumped if it fails to show the one critical attribute a recruiter is looking for: a passion for the job you’re applying to!

Hope you found this article helpful!

Feel free to ask me questions anytime about your specific résumé or target job.

Have you ever switched careers?

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