Three Things You Should Consider If You Are Finding It Hard To Change Careers
There comes a point in nearly everyone’s life where they decide they want to change careers. At times this is a relatively small leap in the same field. For example you may be an Accounts Payable Officer and want to be a Payroll Officer. In this case, making the switch isn’t usually that difficult. But what happens when you shear sheep for a living but really want to be a Youth Worker?
The most obvious answer is to get some training or education in that area but sometimes that’s not practical for a number of reasons. You might not be able to afford to take the time off work to attend class or you might just suck at school related activities (and that’s perfectly Ok, by the way). If the education route doesn’t work for you I have three other ideas you might want to consider:
It’s all about the competition. There is a massive difference between competing with 150 applicants that already have the required qualifications and 4 applicants that have the qualifications. If you put enough effort into your cover letter and resume you might just snag an interview with only 5 applicants. But even with the best resume and cover letter in the world, it’s going to be mission impossible to stand out with 150 applicants.
Depending on how passionate you are about your career, relocation may be your answer. When relocating for a position there are two things you want to look for as far as location is concerned. This is a high turnover rate (ie: most people only stick around 1-5 years) and plenty of jobs. You will also need to take in personal considerations such as housing availability, affordability and logistics.
If you are more of a ‘hands on’ learning type, volunteering or organising work experience is one way to increase your skill set while opening up networking opportunities. Not only do these opportunities provide you with skills in your chosen career path but you can add this to your resume to demonstrate your commitment. Another bonus is that if a paid position does become available and you are doing a fantastic job, you have a good chance of getting your foot in the door for a paid position.
The main difference between volunteer work and work experience is that with volunteering you are helping the community. With work experience you are working for free. If you choose work experience as your option, make sure you set an end date right from the start. While it’s great to gain those skills, you don’t want to work for free so much that when a paid position come up, they don’t offer it to you because they already have you for free.
I’ve previously written a whole blog post about the crazy things people have done to get their foot in the door but this week I’m just going to focus on stunt resumes and cover letters. Examples of stunts pulled in the past include sending a shoe to the employer with a note saying ‘just wanted to get my foot in the door’ and someone getting their resume printed on a chocolate wrapper and sending the chocolate to the employer.
Why these are extreme examples and I recommend the traditional approach in most cases, if you are looking for a total career change and know you can’t compete with the other applicants on a traditional level, a stunt is one way to put yourself out there. (Both these stunts were successful for an interview by the way). I recommend the use of ‘stunts’ only when you have nothing to lose and can’t compete using the traditional methods.
I’ll be releasing a series of three training videos based on these approaches along with some DIY worksheets over the next month. If you want to ensure you receive them and you are not already on our mailing list, use the box directly under this post to sign up.