Be Directly Relevant
21 August, 2017
Do you have an accreditation or work experience directly related to what you want to do next? If the answer is 'no', many prospective employers will think twice about giving you a chance on your career change.
This work experience factor only becomes more relevant as you get older. In our experience, organisations are much less willing to give older career-switchers an opportunity if you're looking to do some serious career-building. And here older equals 30 years plus. The case is different if you have developed skills, an expertise, or experience that they see can contribute value to the business area you're joining. With increasing retirement ages, attitudes are changing, but only slowly. Age discrimination is a thing - and it doesn't have to be downright discrimination to place you at a disadvantage - people may not doubt your capacity to do the job, but may feel uncomfortable at the prospect of holding someone older than themselves to account (i.e. managing you).
So what's the lesson here? If you are switching career, scour your professional history and equity for all skills, experiences, and expertises that are related to your desired role. Direct and non direct. Undertaken voluntarily and at work. Start to identify those areas where your past experience and current capabilities overlap with what organisations offering your target role look for. Be as harsh as they might be about what counts as transferable, and what doesn't. But also look for opportunities where you could argue a case that something actually counts.
Now look at your “story”. Where are you coming from (background) and where do you want to go (aspirations)? Why? And how can you explain that in a succinct and compelling way to prospective employers? A corollary of your career change is that you are making a bid to be a credible provider of a particular service. Make sure that your bid is compelling. What are the 3 main reasons why someone should take your background as an indication that you can make a serious contribution to the new role? If you can't convince them, unless you get lucky, you're looking at moving down the "ideal employer scale". These are the types of organisations you would like to work for in your new field. This may have a deflating effect on your trajectory in the new career, meaning you don't progress as much as you'd like to or get as much of the kind of work as you'd like to. Don't forget that people are often reluctant to take a gamble when it comes to hiring.
Be Who They Want to Hire, or Be Better
Are you a compelling candidate for the roles you apply to?
Get Granular About Your Career Change
Consider the full implications of your career change before you set out.
The Pings and Pangs of Self-Employment
How expectations match up to the real-world outcomes.
How Does Your Interviewer Like It?
Know who you'll be interacting with and how it matters.