You just finished reading “Love Your Life: Cultivating Your Vision and Tending Your Dreams.” You completed the exercises in the book and have come to the realization that you’ve reached a point in your career where it’s time to shake things up. You’re ready to take a chance and toss your hat into the ring for that supervisory position that was just posted. Maybe it’s something more than that and you’re ready to stretch into an entirely new direction and pursue a different field altogether. Either way, there’s a hurdle you need to jump: Your work experience doesn’t exactly match the job description of your new dream job. It’s not that you doubt your ability to do the tasks outlined. You know you can! No, this is about selling your skills and ability to someone else. How are you going to convince the gatekeeper and the hiring manager they want to learn more about you when your resume isn’t a Goldilocks’ fit? Try this:
What Are They Really Looking For?
Before your fingers hit the keyboard, take a moment to really understand what the job requires. Focus on skill sets, not just task requirements.
Look for Overlaps
You’ve got a great track record in sales, but you feel like you’ve missed your calling as a marketing professional. Maybe you haven’t written killer ad content or developed a sizzling trade show presentation, but you certainly do know how to identify customer pain points and the solutions for them. Not only that, but you’ve done an admirable job communicating that to the customer as your sales numbers can attest. At its core, that’s marketing. Your job is to show prospective employers that are qualified because your skills are transferrable to your target position.
Customize Your Resume
You understand you need to update your resume from the last time you used it; that’s why you’re reading this, after all. You may also remember that it’s worth tailoring your resume to each specific job you apply for. Awesome! When you’re making a big change, however, it’s even more important not to view your resume updates as a one-and-done approach. If you’re stretching outside of your traditional wheelhouse, take the time to carefully review each job description you’re applying for and tweak your resume to highlight why you’re the person for the job.
Watch Your Language
Every industry has its fair share of acronyms and insider terms. When you’re making a big career change, you need to translate those terms to common business language. You’ve spent the last decade as an event marketer for a high-tech company in a B2B setting. Now you’re applying to be a patient care coordinator at a healthcare facility. You’ve already identified your transferrable skills: You’re an awesome communicator. Your experience planning trade shows and events has you armed to the teeth with organizational skills and project management capabilities. The list goes on and on. However, using phrases like “Tracked leads via CRM system to determine KPI” doesn’t convey transferrable skills. It says you’re locked in a specialized skill set that has nothing to do with position you’re applying for.
Tell the Story
You haven’t held the title “manager” but you have your fair share of experience managing projects and the people working with you on them. Not only that, but you’ve got experiences outside of your career that lend themselves well to the position you’re applying for, like your five years as PTO president and your role as mentor to the student from your alma mater. Highlight your skill sets, not just your job titles.
Use a Sounding Board
If you’re still feeling a little unsure about how to make X = Y, it’s time to bring in a second opinion. One option is to find a mentor already working in a similar field as your target position and get their feedback. Another is to lean on a business coach or other mentor. If you need a hand, I’d be happy to talk to you about how Creative Blueprints for Leaders might help you work all this out. Contact my office for a chat: 917-992-2928. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.