It is becoming increasingly common for people to pursue a career in an entirely different area than the one they graduated in. The main reason for this is that students are probably not in the best position to choose their career before their graduation, but they are required to make the choice regardless. Since a mature individual seeking a fulfilling career has a different mindset than a young student in their final year, career aspirations may easily shift.
What Makes You the Ideal Candidate?
It is the most crucial question for almost any job and the person with the most convincing answer to this question is often the successful candidate. Although your degrees and qualifications matter, speaking realistically your employer’s primary concern is getting the job done in the most efficient way. There is a great difference in being qualified ‘on paper’, and being actually the best fit for the job. Employers are certainly interested in the latter. If you can prove your suitability for the job to your employer, you’d actually be surprised how negotiable the job requirements can be.
Your first step is to make an impressive resume and cover letter and present yourself in such a way that the employer is forced to consider you for the job, regardless of your qualifications and degrees. Your resume and cover letter make your first impressions on the employer so be sure to give due consideration while making them.
Next, prepare yourself for a great interview. Present yourself in an attractive way and impress the employer not only with your suitability for the job, but with your personality as well. Be interesting, kind, and idealistic. Demonstrate to the employer how you will meet and exceed their expectations. If you manage to make the employer believe that you are a passionate and hardworking individual, your paper credentials become pretty much irrelevant.
The final step is the most important and it is proving to the client why you are the best candidate for the job. An excellent way to accomplish this goal is to take a pro-active role, and do a small pre-job project for them. For example, if you’re interested in a graphic designer’s position, you can craft some designs for the company in order to demonstrate your skills. While it is okay to not have the required degree or experience level, you MUST have the required skill set to do the job efficiently.
Kent Miller, a professional writer at BestEssays, shared his story with us “I majored in elementary education but soon after I began my career as a teacher assistant, I realized it’s not something I want to pursue as a career. I took my chances and joined BestEssays as a professional writer. To my great surprise, I came to know that more than half of the employees here are working in a different area than what they majored in. It naturally to change your career path, because we grow and our interests are changing”.
So, if you’re also looking to take that plunge, here are some proven ways for you!
1. Find an Internship
Internships are an excellent way to get a feel of how things get done in a particular industry, and whether you’ll fit in or not. While internships are not always easy to get, they can prove to be an invaluable asset in helping you make an informed career decision. Reach out to companies you want to work for and offer your services unpaid, if you have to. It is a rough road in the beginning but in the long run, you will find it well worth the time and effort.
2. Build and Utilize Your Network
It is very likely that someone you know might already be working in the industry that you are interested in. The advice you get from them, based on their expertise and firsthand knowledge in the field, can prove to be of great value. If you don’t have any such acquaintance, seek informational interviews with employees who have a considerable amount of experience in your desired field. A great way of broadening your network is to join professional associations in your desired industry and attend their events.
3. Obtain Relevant Certifications
While there are some jobs that require you to have a relevant degree to be considered for the job, such as nursing or law, there are many jobs that don’t require a specialized degree. For such jobs, having relevant certifications is a great asset. With the advent of MOOC’s, obtaining these certifications has become relatively simple and easy. Do keep in mind though that all certifications are not equal; and the nature of these certificates and the impact they may have on your employer can be varying. Here’s further reading for you to understand whether certifications will help you in getting a better job.
4. Take a Gradual Approach
When you are switching careers, it is a good idea to start from lower positions and gradually work your way upwards. Even if you worked at a higher position in your previous job, you should understand that it won’t work the same way here as you do not possess direct relevant experience. It is a smart and logical approach, and will highlight you as a cooperative and passionate employee.
5. Polish Your Universal Skills
Your universal skills are the ones common across all jobs. These include your writing skills, communication skills, research skills, organization abilities, and problem-solving abilities. Collectively, these are a great skill set to impress your potential employer. Polish these skills and highlight them to gain leverage over your competition. Here’s a list of the universal job skills for more details.
It is true that switching careers is no mundane task, and the very thought can be intimidating for many people. However, it is surprisingly common nowadays and with some effort and careful consideration, you can easily make a smooth transition from one industry to an entirely different one.