Half of the workforce are looking for new jobs, according to a survey by Fast Company.
Is that you?
After more than a year of working from home, are you ready for a big change? Or perhaps you've just decided to start a brand new chapter in your life, and a new direction in your career plays a big part in that chapter.
But it's easier said than done.
As much as we'd like to to take on a new direction, the people with the authority to hire us – hiring managers – don't care about our personal goals and ambition during the hiring process. All they want is someone who can solve their problems as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
And usually, they feel, someone who already has experience in the field is the best person for the job. So how do you, someone with far less experience than your competition applying for the same job, overcome this obstacle, and win the job offer in a new field?
The answer is at the end. But first..
You have a couple of pre-requisite steps you need to take, if you want to beat that competition, and overcome your lack of experience.
What's Your Story?Be very clear on your why.
What's the reason you want to get into this field? And the answer cannot be "I'm sick of my old job and want to try something new."
There are two reasons we do things – we are either moving away from pain or towards pleasure, and usually (in this case) you want your why to be towards a positive outcome.
Perhaps you've discovered a set of skills that you've found works well in this new field. Perhaps you recently did a project close to this new field and you never felt happier.
Don't let education be the reason – "I did a course in this field so I'm pursuing it". Unless, you absolutely enjoyed the course, and the knowledge of that field got you excited to practice it.
You see the trend? It's a positive emotional reason that's compelling you to want to practice in this field. Prepare your "why" into an elevator pitch, and use it with any hiring manager you speak with (whether it's a networking meeting or a job interview).
ResearchHop online and Google for "Career path for [x]" and look at the various job titles that come up.
Pick one that seems to be a good fit, and check online job boards for the most common responsibilities and skills required for this job. Take special note of any hard skills (education, certification and association memberships) that are required for this role.
Fill in the gaps.
For example, if you want to get into project management, most job postings will require a PMP certification. Get it. You will learn, and check off a requirement for this role as well.
But, take caution.
Don't go overboard with the education. This is a common mistake I see people making. They think that the only thing that stands in their way of getting into a new role is more and more certification. More education by itself will not beat your competition who have more experience than you.
For most fields and everything else being equal, experience always trumps education. Let your research guide you on what education is a must-have and stick to filling that gap only.
Hands-On LearningPersonally, I'm a big believer in learning from someone who's been there done that. If I wanted to learn chemistry, I'd prefer to learn from a chemist instead of a chemistry teacher.
If you believe the same, check out online courses from udemy.com or coursera.com and search for online courses in your industry. In my experience, the folks who deliver these courses are everyday people who are practicing in the same field as you, and teaching from real life scenarios.
If the instructor offers it, you can also get to be part of an exclusive Facebook community where you will be surrounded by like-minded professionals you can learn from.
Speaking of which, another option for that is joining a local association in the field.
It's all about being in constant contact with people who have, or know someone who has the power and authority to hire you. This is the single most important thing you can do when changing careers when you don't have the experience. At that brings me to my final point.
NetworkingHere is a very common mistake that I see people making when trying to change careers. They think they can just get more education in that field, speak to a couple of recruiters, use the same resumé that speaks to their current job, but now has that new certification they just acquired, and BAM!
"Now I just have to apply to the new jobs online and wait for the interviews to come."
And it never does. Why? Because like I said at the start, hiring managers don't care about your personal career ambition. So you have new education in the new field? So what?
So do the rest of the candidates applying for the same job. And even if they don't they have something far more valuable. Experience.
So, what's the answer? What's the one thing that's more valuable than experience and qualifications? Personality.
Don't take it from me. Take it from the big man himself:
And most hiring managers, whether they admit to it or not, agree with him.
This is why networking is important. Because if all you are is a piece of paper to a hiring manager (your resumé) you will always lose to the competition.
So in addition to your education plan, create a networking plan which gets you in contact with hiring managers as soon as possible and as frequently as possible.
Your goal is to get face time with them, so that you can personally pitch your "Why" to them. In the end, any hiring manager would rather hire someone they like and can get along with them and their team, than a highly skilled, highly experienced know-it-all who is difficult to work with.
Your story creates your elevator pitch, your research makes you knowledgable about the field, hands-on learning gets expands your network and knowledge. All work together to achieve your ultimate goal to a successful career change – dazzling decision makers with your personality.
Remember, to most hiring managers, its personality first, experience second, education third.