So, you’re longing for a complete career change but everywhere you look you find yourself staring back at the same words: “Experience in a similar role required.”
I won’t sugar-coat it for you; it is difficult to make a complete career change: HR normally asks you, “What’s your background? Do you have at least 1-3 years industry experience? No? Well, then thank you for your time and we’ll be in contact…”
One thing you must understand before you go down the rabbit hole is that the standard approach to finding a job is less likely to work for you. Without experience, certification and training your CV will often fall deeper and deeper into the black hole that is the folder labelled ‘inexperienced candidates.’
Don’t be deterred – there is hope!
Many companies are opening their minds to the idea of hiring people, not just CVs, and alternative and creative ways of getting your foot in the door are becoming more commonplace. If you want to make a big change you have to start embracing the concept that you have lots to offer.
Here are our five top tips to overcoming these obstacles:
1) Take an alternative approach
A growing number of companies and organisations are recognising the fact that CVs are a terrible way of getting to know someone and therefore welcome other means of applying too.
We’re seeing more and more applications that embrace a refreshing, interesting and more story-based approach that relies on narrative more than experience: These can come in the form of video applications that highlight why you will be perfect for the job, or invitation to share projects, portfolios or other works you have created.
Consider shooting a YouTube video, or creating a blog showcasing your passion for the new area you want to work in.
I’ve even witnessed a candidate create a website where employers have to apply to be the candidates employer! They do say that fortune favours the brave…
2) Hang out in ‘the pond’
Hanging out in the pond is a term otherwise known as networking, but that is often associated with stuffy events where you talk figures over canapés and pretend to be someone you’re not! This isn’t what I mean at all.
You need to become part of the community you want to join and stop standing on the sidelines. Seek out talks, seminars, webinars, events and anything else that gets you involved. Start blogging about your desired industry. Volunteer within the sector in your spare time and completely submerse yourself in this world.
You’ll gain a lot of experience in the process, become more employable and also forge some useful connections.
3) Don’t over-associate yourself with your CV
You probably have more talents and skills than you know, and are therefore more employable than you first thought! You need to look at the skills the job requires and state your most relevant and transferable skills – at the very least this will suggest to your employer that it won’t be too difficult to train you for the new role.
4) Go one step backwards and 2 steps forward
When making a career change, it is not uncommon to let panic and desperation take over. You get the fear and realise that you need to take on another income to support you whilst you make steps towards your dream job.
Have you considered combining your need for a ‘survival job’ with your need for developing the necessary skills for your new career path?
Consider taking up relevant projects or voluntary work within your new field so you start to gain experience, skills and those all-important contacts. Not only will you be making yourself more employable, but you will also have a foot-in-the-door which will give you a huge insight into this new world.
5) Create a skills-based CV
If you have to use a CV to apply for the role then change it to focus on your story, not your history:
A skills-based CV is designed to do just that by showing what you have to offer in favour of what jobs you have done.
Replace job titles with 3 or 4 big headlines that state the main skill-sets and talents you possess. Underneath each headline you will showcase your key accomplishments and acquired skills. This will go a long way to show your employer how many transferable skills and assets you have – which is a huge positive when you have zero work experience in your desired field!
You can also add your work history at the end to add more credibility to your CV; but the point of a skills-based CV is to lure the reader in with what you CAN do, not what you have done.
Giving a potential employer something new and interesting to read may be a welcome change from the pile of conventional CVs that they have just read. It will certainly grab their attention!
Hopefully you now realise that this whole lack-of-experience-thing doesn’t have to signify the end of your dreams; although it can make them slightly more difficult to achieve. There are lots of creative ways you can build up your experience and plump up your portfolio in the process. If you want it enough then you will make it happen.
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