Do you want to make a career pivot but are not sure how to approach it? Career switching is possible, even in tighter job markets, but your success will depend on your ability to convince your target audience that you can add value to their organization.
Here are five practical steps to make yourself a more compelling candidate and improve your chances of success when switching careers:
- Become an “insider.” Read extensively about the industry you are interested in, learning about your target company’s position in the market and the products and services it offers. Develop an opinion on key trends and players. Gain an understanding of the skills and areas of knowledge required for the job and the hiring process.
- Think broadly about the relevance of your background. Identify any potential connection to your target area of interest. For example, if you are interested in consumer products, maybe you have operating or investing experience in the consumer industry. Or perhaps you work in an adjacent industry, interact with a key industry vendor, or are just a devoted customer of the company and admire its business model.
- Build new technical skills or acquire hands-on experience.Volunteer for assignments outside your core responsibilities at work. Take online certification classes. For example, if you want to become an investment banker, learn financial modeling from Wall Street Prep.
- Present your interest in a persuasive way. Think about the “why”—what appeals to you about this role or industry, and in what ways are you qualified for it? Hook your listener quickly; clearly convey how you could contribute to the role. Read our Tell Me About Yourself blog post for more tips.
- Cultivate new relationships.Invest heavily in networking to confirm your interest in the company or industry, gather information on the recruiting process, and learn the requirements for the role.
With all of this, remember to set realistic goals. Career switches often happen in baby steps. Consider shifting to a new industry, function, or location, but not all three at the same time.
We wish you much success—stay positive, diligent, and persistent. You might receive a lot of rejections before you achieve your goal, but take the opportunity to learn from each of them. They will make you an even better candidate.