Have you considered changing careers but aren’t sure where to start? Perhaps an unsatisfying career is occupying your thoughts, but you’re at a loss as to how to proceed.
On one hand, perhaps you have a burning passion to learn something new, or maybe you’d like a break from the daily grind—either way, you’ve decided it’s time for a change.
But when things don’t go as planned and you suddenly find yourself out of work, the question is: what do you do?
Making a career transition is always scary. When it comes to changing careers, many people start with the wrong mindset. People tend to focus on what they don’t want and not what they do want. This can be a disaster if you haven’t planned your new career well.
There are plenty of jobs that have little to do with what you studied in school, and that’s where this article comes in! No matter what field you’re in, it is possible to change jobs without prior experience.
You just need the right focus, drive, a bit of grit, and a lot of motivation. Then, here’s what you need to do:
1. Craft your story
So why do you want to change careers when you have no experience at all? Be prepared to answer this question in order to explain to potential employers why you are pursuing a different direction.
Before starting your transition journey, create a compelling story that illustrates your desire to move to a new career. When crafting this narrative, emphasize your passion for the job and your willingness to take risks to explore the new path.
Make sure to also include the reasons for making the change and your biggest contributions to the organization’s needs despite not having industry-specific experience.
2. Recognize your transferrable skills
Changing careers can seem intimidating at first, but in most cases, you’re not starting from scratch. All the time you’ve spent in your previous work, you’ve gained soft skills you can apply to your new job. Although these may not be industry-specific, they provide a solid foundation for your new career.
It’s essential to first assess your transferable skills and compare your responsibilities for both previous and target roles. It may not be apparent at first glance, but don’t ignore sharing these soft skills with employers. They’re actually quite valuable as other companies value passion and certain skills more than the technical ones you could learn.
3. Do your research to understand the specific requirements
To get an idea of what’s involved in a particular career, look for articles and blog posts about it. You can also find resources on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as on YouTube.
Another way of getting an idea of the new industry you want to join is by taking short/introductory courses online. You may find that online courses are more convenient than traditional classroom classes. There are many free and low-cost resources available online, including Coursera, Harvard University, and the TESDA Online Program.
If you can’t find any information about the specific requirements of a particular job, then it’s time to ask someone who has experience working in that field. This person will be able to give advice as well as point out any obstacles that might prevent you from being hired for the job.
4. Try on your new career
When you’re trying to change careers but you’re still unsure if you can commit to it, you can always try gaining experience on a part-time basis. You can quickly get your foot in the door and get a taste of what it’s like to be in that industry without having to take on a full-time job.
You can also try volunteering for organizations that are related to your desired career path. For example, if you want to work in marketing, volunteer at an advertising agency or at a small online business. You can also take an internship position in a company related to your desired field of work.
5. Expand your network
Once you have an idea of where your long-term goals lie, it’s time to start networking with people who can help get you there faster. Start by finding out if anyone in your circle has any connections that could help you get on the right path. It doesn’t matter if they are people in your industry or not; as long as they have something useful that they can offer, it’s worth asking them for advice.
Network on LinkedIn and speak to at least ten people. Remember to be genuine in your engagement and try to add value to the conversation. It is also essential to attend seminars and other events in your chosen field to build contacts. If you plan to volunteer or go back to school, you might as well gain a network of professors and peers that have similar interests.
6. Target organizations that are open-minded
When you’re trying to change careers with no experience, target companies that are open-minded. They might not be a perfect fit for you right now, but they’ll help you explore the industry and improve your chances of success.
If it’s a well-known brand, they’ll have an established network of recruiters who can help you find more opportunities. Even if they’re not, there are still plenty of ways to get connected. Don’t worry about what’s out there or where everyone else is going—focus on what you have and what will make you stand out from the crowd.
On one hand, there will always be organizations that don’t heavily rely on someone’s education and qualifications when recruiting them. Rather, they will always prefer personality and skills such as problem-solving, leadership, and adaptability over job-specific ones—as these can be learned.
Taking on a new career without experience will definitely be challenging. But with the following strategies mentioned in this article, it doesn’t have to be intimidating to create a transition plan.