One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when making a career transition, is convincing hiring managers that you are not a risk.
They are going to have some common concerns: Why are you making a transition? Do you know the challenges this industry faces? Do you have the right skills for this job? Etc.
The good news is that even though you may work in a completely different field and area, there are almost always parallels with the industry you want to transition into. It is up to you to take an inventory of your transferable skills and experiences, and put them in the employer’s language.
In a recent online class, Executive Coach Johanna Baum said this about career transition: “It is important to identify the common theme that connects your personal experiences…It’s easier for people to accept a story that seems like a logical extension of your past.” So how do you express this on your resume or in an interview? “Consider your past experiences from your new job’s point of view” says Baum.
With her clients, Johanna would take requirements from job descriptions in target industries, then find the parallels in the client’s experiences and connect them. Below are some examples:
Teacher who transitioned into Learning and Development Specialist:
Combining his experiences and the language of the job spec yielded this elevator pitch:
I’m a learning and development specialist with extensive experience coaching individuals to develop and implement communication skills, and leading teams to work together effectively. Working with teenagers has honed my ability to develop and deliver effective courses that hold people’s interest, facilitate teamwork and make learning fun. I truly excel at helping people improve their interpersonal and communication skills and enjoy working with learners of all ages.
Journalist who transitioned into Corporate Communications:
These were combined for the following pitch:
I’m a communications expert with the proven ability to generate a steady stream of relevant and engaging content. I’m comfortable working under pressure in fast-paced, deadline-driven organizations. Writing about a diverse range of subject matter has been exciting, but I really excel when I can focus my efforts on a unified goal and build a depth of knowledge in a particular area. That’s why I’d like to help this organization communicate its unique value to its employees and customers.