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4 tips for applying to jobs in a different career path

11/13/2019

4 tips for applying to jobs in a different career path

Every once in a while, you might feel like it's time to change course in your working life. While you may have put years or even decades into a specific career track, it might be time for a big change that requires you to completely shift focus. There's nothing wrong with this impulse, but it will require you to be a little savvy about taking your next step.

If you decide to start applying to jobs that are only tangentially - or not at all - related to your old career path, the following steps will help you find a bit more success in your new job search:

1) Focus more on your skills than your experience

If you're transitioning to a new type of job altogether, a lot of the experience you've accrued over the years isn't likely to apply directly, according to The Muse. For that reason, it will be more important to stress what you bring to the table, and specifically your soft skills, when you seek a new job. Whether that's in your resume and cover letter, or in an interview, be prepared to highlight not what you've already done (since that may not be relevant) but rather what you can do in this new job.

2) Be more discerning in your job search

While you might feel more than comfortable casting a wide net for jobs in your current career track, you may need a more targeted approach if you're changing mid-stream, according to Glassdoor. Unfortunately, there are all too many hiring managers who will ignore your application out of hand since you don't have a lot of requisite experience - and that can mean you wasted time preparing your resume and cover letter for a job you were never going to get.

Instead, look closely for positions that have some overlap with what you're currently doing and hope for the best.

3) Network as much as you can

In any job search, success is often as much a function of who you know as what your qualifications are, Glassdoor added. With that in mind, it's a good idea to think about who you might know in your potential new field and reach out to them for advice or guidance about who to talk to or where to look. While you may not be aware of where to begin initially, someone who has a lot of experience in that field almost certainly will.

4) Be prepared to explain yourself

When you're writing a cover letter or sitting in an interview, the question hanging over everything is going to be: "Why did you change careers?" according to Monster. As such, you should have a good answer ready to go, and even lead off with that explanation just to get it out of the way. As long as you're open and honest about this issue, it shouldn't hold you back from achieving your new goals.

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