If you’re feeling like you’ve flatlined in your career, making a career change could be an amazing way to help you feel fulfilled and happy again. Remember: do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life!
But making a career change can be very tough depending on what you want to achieve. To help you out, we’ll start with the top four questions you should answer before diving in:
- Do you want a similar role in the same industry?
- Do you want a different role in the same industry?
- Do you want a similar role in a different industry?
- Do you want a different role in a different industry?
These are your four major decision-points when it comes to making a career change. I’ve ordered them in a specific way – from easiest to hardest. It will always be harder to switch industries because you won’t be perceived as having the same level of expertise as a veteran. As a result, employers might not understand some parts of your experience.
Once you’ve narrowed down what types of move you want to make, it’s time to assess specifics. Here are another nine questions to help you out:
1. If you’re seeking a different role:
- What about your experience is transferable?
- What do you know about that area?
- Why do you want a different role? What interests you about it?
- What are some of the day-to-day responsibilities in this role?
In addition to finding out more about the role you’re interested in, you’ll also want to think about your application from an employers perspective. Consider:
- What are the minimum and preferred requirements?
The minimum or baseline requirements are usually written out explicitly in the job posting. Preferred requirements are much less obvious. A great way to find these out is to think critically about your target company’s strategic vision. If you know that they’re branching into E-Commerce and the role you’re applying to is related to that, you can be sure that the employers’ preferred requirement will be that the successful candidate has E-Commerce implementation experience. If you have this expertise, be sure to emphasize it across your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and during your interview!
2. If you’re seeking a different industry
- What are the trends, challenges, and opportunities?
- What’s in demand? What’s growing?
- What’s the pace of the industry?
When you have a better feel for the industry and know whether it matches your personality type, it’s time to consider this question:
- What are the perceived objections to your application? What points are you going to use to counter them?
If you’re coming from a different industry or role, you can bet that there will be objections from your potential employer. This doesn’t mean they don’t want you. I recommend entering the process of making a career change with the thought in mind that employers want things to be as easy as possible for them so that they can get their ROI. Ideally, their new hire would come from a very similar company and role as the one they want to fill, and they may be cautious about seriously considering you as a candidate. Making a career change isn’t impossible, it just means that you’ll have to work harder to make sure your value is communicated.
For example, my past clients have gone from industries like tech marketing to financial services marketing, tech sales to procurement in financial services, and electronics marketing to CPG! These amazing transitions were made because they all did their preparation, knew what their employers were looking for, and were able to re-orient their experience so that it made sense in a new context.
Do you have any questions about making a career change? Check out the full, two-part Job Search Q&A videos for more valuable information!