Preparing for a Career Change

A friend of mine recently contacted me for assistance with her professional resume.

She desperately wanted to make a career change to the non-profit world and her task was developing a new resume.

However, upon further discussion with her, I realize that she had no actual related experience – part-time, volunteer or project-based.

I simply could not develop a new resume out of the blue that would position her for a new career.

Seriously considering a career change, but don’t have the right work experience?

Don’t be discouraged, I have worked successfully with many candidates who were able to make the transition into a new career, BUT it took time, patience and careful planning.

Here are a few things to consider when preparing for a career change:

1) Know The Skill Base: Identify the required experience, skills, qualifications, certifications, training and education that your employers are asking for in your new target job.

2) Develop A Job Profile: Create a table and list the core job requirements that you have frequently noticed appearing in job listings or based on what you have learned from professionals currently working in the field.

3) Highlight Your Skills: Zero in on the qualifications and/or related experience that you already have and make detailed notes on your transferable skills that can be applied to your new career.

4) Uncover New Learning Opportunities: Make a list of competency areas that can be improved or quickly achieved through a short-term program or online learning class.

5) Research Consulting / Volunteer Projects: In many cases, the only way to get experience is to volunteer or partner with someone on an existing or long-term project.

6) Start Connecting: An introduction, referral or third-party testimonial can be instrumental in opening the doors to a new career. Maximize opportunities to attend industry conferences, local networking events and participating in professional associations.

Last, but certainly not least, recognize that it will take time.

I worked with a client who wanted to transition into a marketing career from financial analyst career. She studied the required materials, volunteered with local groups and undertook challenging projects that gave her great achievement stories for her interviews and her resume.

By the time, she reached out to me for a resume reinvention, we had five years of related experience and achievements that perfectly positioned her for a new career!