Most professionals seek to change careers at least once during their professional lives. But that fact does little to quell the nerves of those who are considering a similar move. Even when jobs are disappointing and unfulfilling, they still have advantages that convince many workers to stay where they’re at: security, in most cases, and income and job prestige in others.
Although it’s possible to change careers, it’s not an easy task. In an uncertain job market or poor economic climate, the challenges are even greater, and the open job positions even fewer. It will likely take a lot of hard work to successfully make the transition across jobs and industries. But if you are committed and willing to face the uncertainties that come with such a move, you may be able to find your way to greener pastures.
Do Some Career Research Beforehand
If you’re feeling discontent but aren’t sure where to turn to help you change careers, it’s time to do some job research. try taking some assessment tests to determine whether your skillset and/or personality are a good fit for any particular job field. Because you will be looking for a job with little related experience, you’ll also want to find an industry that has positive hiring trends and a good jobs outlook in the coming years.
Resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics are a great place to find this information.
Accept the Risks
Pursuing a new professional path carries a lot of uncertainties and risks, and you need to be prepared for them. Are you truly unhappy at your job or merely dissatisfied?
Are you planning on quitting your job before you find another? Can you afford to do so?
Are you willing to accept that your next position might also fail to be rewarding, and you could end up moving backward in terms of income and job prestige?
If you’re going to adopt this risky behavior and change careers, you need to be okay with the worst-case scenario. If you aren’t, then maybe your job isn’t as bad as it sometimes seems.
Pursue Occupational Training
In your pursuit to change careers, if you find a new professional path that requires certain training and/or certifications, it’s essential that you go out and get them.
Because the odds are working against you as a professional looking to change careers, you need to prove that you are serious about making the switch and not just window shopping for an easier way to earn a living. These certifications or training sessions may be as minimal as one evening session, or you might have to go back to school to earn a certificate or license in your desired field. Either way, take every opportunity available to educate yourself and prepare for your desired field of work.
Aim Lower to Get in Quicker
It can feel like a shot to your pride at first, but if you’re eager to get going on your new career path, you might have an easier time taking a position less prominent than the one you currently have. Remember that you aren’t trapped forever in that position, you’re only taking it to get a foot in the door and change careers to your new field of work.
Once you have made the jump to a new industry, you can focus on climbing the ranks and proving yourself in your new position. And it won’t be long before people forget you ever worked somewhere else.
Prepare Your Industry Change Resume
A well-written industry career change resume that emphasizes your transferable skills and strengths while downplaying industry-specific language is essential for a successful industry transition.
The example industry change resume below illustrates how to write this type of resume, strategically wording the resume in a way that downplays industry while showcasing the qualifications that would be transferable to other industries. For example, managing P&L, leading change initiatives, hiring and training staff, handling customer relations, and other similar skills that are essential for administrative management roles.
Note that we didn’t hide any industry information in the example resume. Instead, in this industry change resume we shifted attention to qualifications and accomplishments that would apply to other industries and downplayed specific industry expertise.
This particular client thought that he may be interested in working in a healthcare-related industry, which would have been somewhat related to his most recent work in a veterinary hospital, so we left in some of the relevant keywords for that industry. However, he did not want to work in the veterinary industry again, so we deemphasized those keywords.
Are you feeling overwhelmed, trying to write your industry change resume? At Distinctive Career Services we write many career change resumes and can help you identify the most important transferable skills and experience to showcase. We also provide objective feedback and advice regarding what you should not include in your resume. Book a free resume writing consultation to learn more about our services and how they might help you.
Originally published on September 26th, 2012, this article has been updated and refreshed for 2022 and beyond.