Whether you are in the early stages of your career or just looking for a change of direction, it can be tricky if your experience or education to date don’t directly relate to the requirements of the job you want to apply for. If you are motivated to follow a career direction that differs to what you’ve done so far, consider the following actions to help you demonstrate your passion and abilities to potential employers and lay the groundwork to help you excel in your chosen career and industry.
Work your way up. Be prepared to join a company you aspire to work at, in a role that might not be perfect and possibly below your previous level. Experience pays more because it is proven and valuable. So being in an organisation where you can develop experience within a relevant sector can help you build your value proposition for other organisations. Most small – to medium-sized companies will want to make the most of your potential, so you can progress more quickly and build a set of relevant skills and experiences in your new sector.
Tailoring your CV is a must. You need to highlight the most relevant skills to showcase what you can offer. You might be surprised by how many transferable skills you have. A degree alone for instance can give you research, report writing, project planning, team work and time management skills which are all useful across sectors and career paths.
A good cover letter. even if the employer hasn’t asked for one, including a cover letter will help you to tell the story of your career so far and explain why you want this particular job and are motivated towards this career direction.
Volunteering. If you have the capacity to pick up some volunteer work in the sector you are interested in, this is a double win. Not only can you gain experience to put on your CV and show your willingness to learn but you can also network with contacts in the industry.
Networking. Networking in itself is an important tool for breaking into a new area of work. Use Social Media, events and LinkedIn in to connect to people who might either be able to help in your job search or be able to introduce you to other people.
Show willing and knowledge acquisition through other means. If you don’t have any direct work related experience, you can showcase your other knowledge and your willingness to learn by researching online, teaching yourself skills or attending short courses.
Learn. In some jobs a formal education and training is a must. Teaching, becoming a medical professional, a solicitor or a pilot for example are all careers which require you to have invested significantly in your learning and development. If you want to follow such a career, then pursuing relevant education and training is essential.
Create a portfolio. This won’t be appropriate in every job but it could show an out of box approach to evidencing your expertise in a subject. Give examples of projects you have worked on or if you have little experience on real projects, you could mock up some ideas to show your potential in that area. With a Marketing role for example you could create an example marketing campaign which could evidence your style of working, your research, knowledge of the sector etc.