3 Hacks To Change Your Career In 2017
It’s that time of year. The time of year where everyone is looking to change their careers. Administration Officers want to become Real Estate Representatives, Truck Drivers want to become Fire Fighters and almost everyone is looking for a change.
In a tight job market, it can be difficult to get your foot in the door, especially when you don’t have the experience. For that reason, I’ve compiled a list of the (4) things, you need to stand out in the crowd.
It’s a (4) step process which I will detail below. The steps are:
- Participate in Short Courses, Workshops or Formal Training in the field
- Clock up volunteer hours within the field
- Rewrite your resume to highlight the skills, professional development and volunteer work
- Use the back-door to access new jobs
When I decided, I wanted to work in the Youth Employment sector I had zero experience with youth or employment. I did a night class at the Adult Learning Centre on basic counselling skills. It wasn’t a formal class but I did highlight it on my resume to show the employer I was committed to my career path (I added it to my resume after my first class and listed the study as current).
Following this I volunteered (1) day per week with a community outreach centre in the area. I wrote my resume mentioning this the day of my first shift so you don’t have to work there forever – as soon as your first shift is complete, you are officially a volunteer.
After this I wrote a resume and listed this information on the first page – along with the key skills I had through the course. Finally, I posted an expression of interest to all the community agencies I wanted to work for. It didn’t take long before DSDS accepted and created a new job just for me.
Step One: Professional Development – Let’s say that Sally is an Administration Officer who wants to work as a Youth Worker. The first step for Sally to take is to gain qualifications in this area. If Sally has the money and the time, she can do an online TAFE course or similar. If Sally doesn’t have the money or the time – her next step is to look at the online learning platforms that offer free, short (non-accredited) courses. Udemy is my favourite. Some of the courses are free and the ones that are paid can usually be picked up for $10 or so. For the sake of our example let’s pretend Sally completed the following short courses or workshops:
- Creating Youth Friendly Environments
- Mental Health Issues
- Creating Employment Outcomes for Youth
You could be forgiven for thinking an unaccredited course isn’t worth the paper your certificate is printed on and in many ways that is true. But….. when it comes to writing your resume in the next step, the more short courses you can list related to the area the better.
Step Two: Volunteer
The next step is to gain work experience in the industry you are interested in. For example, Sally would look at community agencies. Since most of these agencies need volunteers, she should find it very easy to find a placement. It gets a bit trickier if your focus isn’t in community services. You can always type Volunteer and your city into Google and see what they offer but if you can’t find anything related to your field – you need to approach some employers about work experience. One of my clients secured work experience with a major wedding planner using this approach which resulted in a paid role as an Event Manager based on that experience.
Step 3 – Resume:
Once you have your official qualifications or informal short courses, it’s time to put together your resume. In Sally’s case the front page needs to look like a Youth Worker resume. If the employer looks at the first page and see’s Administration Officer, that’s as far as she is going to read. The (3) main areas on the resume that you need to focus on when switching careers is ‘Professional Profile’, ‘Key Skills’ and ‘Qualifications’. You want all these listed on the front page (along with any volunteer or work experience relevant to the role). In Sally’s case the professional profile should read something like this and be at the top of the page:
‘Dynamic Individual with a passion for enriching the lives of disadvantaged youth through access to training, employment and education options. Offers a strong knowledge of creating youth friendly environments, mental health issues and in creating employment outcomes for youth. Committed to results with a track record of achievement throughout career’.
The next step is to list the key skills Sally has which could be an asset to Youth Work. For example her list may look something like this:
- Able to write structured assessments and reports including referrals to community agencies.
- Strong understanding of mental illness and addiction.
- Able to empower youth to promote positive choices.
Next comes your formal qualifications that you updated in step 1. If you took the short courses option instead, instead of listing the courses under qualifications. Put this under the heading of ‘Professional Development’ instead.
The next section of your resume should include the work placement or volunteer work you completed in Step 2. Use the title ‘Work Experience’ and add in the name of the place you volunteered with and what you did there.
Now that your resume is sorted – it’s time to move onto our final step: Cold Calling
Step Four: Cold Calling
It’s hard to compete for an advertised position with 300+ other applicants. There will always be people with more experience. If you aren’t sending a letter expressing your desire to work within the industry to every business within the industry in your region – your job search will take a lot longer. Print out multiple copies of your resume and your cover letter and send them out. Make sure you use snail mail. Email is too easy to delete and never gets to the right person anyway. Snail mail is so rare it pretty much guarantees that your letter will get looked at. I’ve lost count of the times my clients have secured their dream job using this approach. Usually once they have finally realised that the traditional approach isn’t working for them.
To recap: When changing jobs to a new industry or field there are (4) steps that guarantee your success.
- Update your professional development
- Gain some industry experience through volunteering or work experience
- Write a resume that highlights the skills you have related to the position
- Use the back-door approach – snail mail your expression of interest to all the prospective employers in your area.
Good luck and if you need any further assistance – get in touch. I write resumes that get results and I’d love to write yours as well.