Four Tips for Career Changers

By Kayla Dietzmann

Is a career change on the horizon for you? 

There are endless reasons why people decide to switch jobs and even fields. As you move toward your goal, keep these four steps in mind.

1. Know What You Want AND Who You Are

You need to know what you’re good at, what you’re not, what you like and what you don’t. There are many ways to figure this out. We recommend doing a career interest assessment and a personality type test. Our favorite combination test is the Strong Interest Inventory. Two free alternative options include Career Cluster Interest Survey and 16Personalities. When you know what field you want to go into, be sure to set it as your primary industry category on your profile so you receive job notifications for your area of interest.

2. Research Careers OR Companies

Once you’ve narrowed down your interests, you need to find out where you can do what you love for a living. You also need to make sure your values align with those companies. If your intrinsic values aren’t similar to the company you work for, you’ll either be on the job hunt again way too soon — or worse, you’ll stay put in a place that isn’t really right for you. Creating a profile on NORTHFORCE can help you identify different careers and employer options. Then we can help you ensure there is a match in the value department. Just reach out! We’ll point you in the right direction.

3. Network, Network, Network

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This old saying is somewhat unfortunately very relevant still. This can be extremely frustrating for introverts — but networking doesn’t have to be intimidating. Start small. Think of people you already know who might be able to help you. From there, simply ask if they know anyone at a company or in a career that interests you. The best way to make a smart career change is to know what you’re in for. So talking to as many people as possible outside of an interview is in your best interest. Ready to go further? Let us know. We’ll make any e-introductions we can.

4. Craft The Perfect Professional Summary

Once you’re ready to apply for a specific role, you’ll need to make clear why you and your current skill set are a match for this new industry. Coming from the hospitality world myself, it was quite easy once I identified the transferable skills that fit into project management. The key was telling the right story. Not only did I have experience and connections with many different employers across the region, I had an innate curiosity in economic development. I knew what I was good at and the skills I wanted to use — and I explained it at the top of my resume. Combined with my strong references I gained through networking, here I am.

The general template I use for professional summaries goes like this:

Experienced XYZ professional seeking to leverage the X years of ABC experience into a new career in the LMN industry.  

Let’s try that with some real info:

Driven and goal-oriented professional with over five years of experience in client relationship building with a passion for understanding how businesses function — and how they can function better. Seeking a role that involves taking on new challenges, analyzing problems, and finding solutions in economic development.

If you’re applying for a certain position, you’ll want to be as specific as possible. Help the reader understand why you’re applying. Refer back to Step 1 if you get stuck, or contact us for a resume review.

For a more extensive list of tips for career changers, check out this 10 Step Plan: How to Successfully Change Careers from LiveCareer’s Randall Hansen.

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