If you’re someone who is thinking of switching career paths or just interested in trying something new out, here’s how to approach it safely.
A career switch is not a simple process and filled with risks. However, with proper preparation, you can make the transition smooth and safe.
Here’s how to get started right:
1. Go Back To Your Resume
The first step to any job search (new or old) is with a Resume. Many of us see this as tedious or boring but if you’re committed to your decision, this will be the first thing you’ll need to send to recruiters and companies.
Even if you’re unsure what your next steps might be, starting with your Resume is a great chance to reassess your current progress. Note down your best achievements, skills and experiences you’ve picked up along the way.
If you have an idea of which path you’d like to take, try to identify any limiting factors that may be preventing you from making the switch. Additionally, highlight any transferable skills from your experiences that may be useful.
2. Research Your Goal
After understanding where you’re at, you should try to figure out where you’re headed.
Some useful questions to consider:
- What am I looking for?
- What do I NOT want?
- What is driving me to make this decision?
- What can this new role offer me?
- What do I need to qualify for the role?
- What are the realistic chances of me succeeding?
Switching careers might mean starting all over again from square one, so try to take some time to perform extensive research before you go ahead and risk it all.
3. Get To Know People With Real Experiences
Things often appear better afar than up close, the best way to get an objective perspective is by asking those with actual experience.
Network with people in your desired industries to get first-hand information. Ideally, you would want to ask about:
- Demand/ job market for the role
- Core technical skills and soft skills
- Potential career growth
- Learning resources
If you don’t have any friends or family to start with, connect with others on LinkedIn or join groups with those in the industry. Be genuine, some connections may open up unexpected opportunities for you.
Here’s an article on how you can leverage your personal brand on LInkedIn to help elevate your career.
4. Fill In The Gaps
Regardless of whether you’re making a big leap or a small one, there will undoubtedly be gaps in experience and skill that you’ll need to address.
Take up online courses on websites such as LinkedIn Learning, SkillShare, MasterClass or Udemy. Find opportunities at your current workplace to gain skills that may come in handy for the new role.
Some roles may require certification or specific qualifications. This is a reminder to take into account the time and cost that may be needed to secure them during your decision making.
5. Expect Zero Training
One of the top reasons for failed career switching is the expectation of training. Many job seekers approach new roles with the mindset of “learning on the job” or “gaining the experience as I go”.
We need to remind ourselves that companies are businesses, and businesses are paying for work to be done, not for you to learn. Company training and seminars are meant for upskilling, not comprehensive learning.
You must ensure that you possess at least the basic competency needed to perform in your desired role. A great guide to follow is to fit around 60-70% of the requirements for any role that you apply for.
6. Test The Waters
Giving up a secure job to start from scratch again is undoubtedly filled with risks, but risks can be reduced.
Without the need for full commitment, volunteering or freelancing work are great avenues to test out jobs. Help out friends with small projects or lend a hand at non-profit organisations. These environments can simulate the experience you need to put your skills into practical use.
The best alternative that makes a lasting mark on your resume would be applying for internships or graduate/ apprenticeship programmes. These roles are designed for hands-on learning and are easier to find than entry-level roles that require no experience.
If you’re up to take on a role full time, we’re making it easy to now find and apply for zero experience jobs on Hiredly!. Search for #ZeroHero to discover roles that don’t require any work experience.
7. Everybody Loves Samples
For certain specialities such as business, marketing, tech or creative, portfolios are a great avenue to get a head start on your competition.
Present samples of your work in the company’s style, a business proposal or a digital mockup of an app. Portfolios help employers better envision your capabilities, increasing your chances of landing a job.
Anything that demonstrates your accomplishments and abilities should go into your portfolio. Choosing between a physical or digital version of your portfolio depends on factors such as industry and personal preference.
Include the major projects and deliverables that you’ve worked on. Do not limit yourself to only things you’ve done at school or work, feel free to include personal projects as well.
8. Prepare Financially
To combat uncertainty, it’s recommended to put aside 3 to 6 months of your monthly spending as an emergency fund. It would be wise to also consider lifestyle changes that you have to make to accommodate any reduction in spending power.
For those of you with experience, expect to be paid less than what you’re earning now.
You will likely be treated and paid as a fresh graduate. The further away you diverge from your original role, the less likely your experience is going to add value to your salary projections.
A great way to judge the practicality of this transition is to attempt living on the estimated salary for a short period of time. However, this is a reminder that this reduction will likely be temporary and will quickly be recovered as you progress in your new role.
9. Apply Anyway
As cliche as it sounds, nothing will change if you don’t try.
Hiring managers don’t expect to hire someone perfect and many employers believe in building up employees they see potential in. So apply anyway!
Impress employers with your unique personality and brush up your skills as best as you can. Reduce your risks, and with proper preparation (and a little luck), you’ll be starting your first day soon.
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Looking for your first career switch opportunity? Check out these zero experience jobs listed on Hiredly! Simply search ZeroHero on Hiredly and explore what ZeroHero roles companies have to offer.
Here are tips on how you can prepare for the application to your new job: