How To Switch Careers Without Starting Over
Looking to switch careers?
The desire to switch careers could be on your radar for a number of reasons. Maybe you don't feel fulfilled or challenged by your current job anymore. Perhaps you're still in search of your professional passion. Whatever the reason, you might be wary of a career change because of the misconception that starting something new means starting over. In this blog, we'll debunk this notion and learn about the power of transferable skills in your pursuit of a new opportunity.
What Are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are those versatile abilities and qualities you've honed in one context but can seamlessly apply to another. Think of them as the Swiss Army knife of your professional toolkit. These skills are the bridge that connects different industries and roles, enabling you to transition smoothly without feeling like you're starting from scratch.
Examples of Transferable Skills
- Communication Skills: Whether you're a sales executive or a graphic designer, effective communication is crucial. Your ability to convey ideas, negotiate, and collaborate is universally valuable. If you've excelled in presentations or written reports, these skills are transferable to various roles.
- Project Management: If you've overseen projects in your current role, the organizational and leadership skills you've developed are transferable to many industries. The ability to set goals, allocate resources, and meet deadlines is in high demand everywhere.
- Adaptability: In today's dynamic job market, adaptability is a prized attribute. If you've navigated change successfully in your current role, you possess a transferable skill that is highly sought after across industries.
- Problem Solving: Analytical thinking and problem-solving are like gold in any career. If you've tackled complex issues and found solutions in your current role, you possess a skill set that transcends industry boundaries.
How-To: Develop Transferable Skills Outside the Workplace
Perhaps you haven't had many opportunities to develop said skills because you're a young professional new to the workforce. Fear not; there are plenty of ways to build your repertoire outside the professional world. The initiative you take in your personal life will directly translate into greater competence at work.
Communication: Communication practice can look different from Speech & Debate or English class. Writing about your hobby, hosting an event, or networking offers opportunities to communicate and connect with others.
Tip: Start a blog, host an event, or participate in a networking event!
Project Management: Project management skills may be developed by initiating personal projects, organizing events, or volunteering – anything involving coordinating tasks and resources.
Tip: Help organize a fundraiser, volunteer event, or club!
Adaptability: Adaptability can be nurtured through exposure to diverse experiences, such as traveling and trying new things, which can increase your comfort when exposed to new environments, cultures, and people.
Tip: Take a trip or try something new. Share that experience with your personal and professional network.
Problem Solving: You don't have to solve big problems to become a better problem solver! Even puzzles and brain games can prepare you for bigger tasks ahead. If you're in school, consider joining a Hackathon or taking entrepreneurship classes to flex your problem-solving muscle.
Online Learning and Certifications
Did you know many high-demand jobs don't require a traditional four-year degree? You don't necessarily have to get another degree to switch careers. Check out our latest blog to get a jump start on your career shift!
Several certification programs, in-person or online, are easily accessible and helpful in developing new skills. Coursera and LinkedIn Learning are readily available platforms with several course options. On top of it, networking with people in your interest in career fields can lead to in-person training, apprenticeships, and certifications.
Tip: Not sure where to start? Join a LinkedIn Group!
How to Write Your Resume When Switching Careers
Once you've identified your transferable skills, the next step is showcasing them on your resume. Here's how:
- Highlight Relevant Achievements: Rather than listing job duties, focus on achievements demonstrating your skills. Quantify your impact wherever possible to provide a tangible measure of your contributions.
- Customize for the Role: Tailor your resume for each application. Identify the key transferable skills prospective employers seek and ensure they stand out prominently on your resume.
Tip: Most employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to read your resume when applying for roles. ATS picks up the keywords on your resume. Need help identifying which keywords are important to include? Reach out to a System One Recruiter and check out our Sound Off with System One episode on optimizing your resume for recruiting software.
- Use Action Verbs: Begin each bullet point with a strong action verb to convey a sense of proactivity. Instead of saying "Responsible for," opt for action verbs like "Implemented," "Led," or "Spearheaded."
- Create a Skills Section: Dedicate a section of your resume to highlight your transferable skills. This draws immediate attention to the qualities that make you a valuable candidate for the new role.
Tip: Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will highlight the skills on your resume that correlate with the role you're applying for. Again, ensure you tailor your resume to match these skill sets. System One Recruiters can help you in your effort!
How-To: Put It Into Practice with Your Resume Summary
Your resume summary is the perfect place to put the above action items into practice. This Coursera article explains, "Not every resume needs a summary, but they can be useful sections to include when you're looking to pivot to something new."
The following example is given to show how key skills are strategically placed to show one's readiness and fit for the role:
- Summary: "Motivated and discerning brand manager with seven years of leadership experience using data to drive actionable, empathetic insights that lead to higher consumer awareness and engagement.
By recognizing and leveraging your transferable skills, you can unlock doors to new opportunities without the need for extensive re-education. While online guides are a great place to start, a recruiter can be an invaluable resource in optimizing your application materials to highlight your most hire-worthy skills. Follow System One on LinkedIn and connect with a recruiter!
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