Dear Dorothy, I am considering a career change into a new field. I have no professional experience in this field and no degree or certification in this new field. I am looking into
obtaining a certification but with no job related experience I am concerned about my prospects of landing a job in the new field. Do you have any guidelines/suggestions as I pursue this endeavor?
As you suspect, right now is a tough buyers market for job seekers. Companies used to be much more fluid about the requirements for job candidates and now they aren’t. Companies can afford to be seriously picky because the applicant flow is so high. For people moving into a new industry or new career, it’s certainly a challenge but not impossible. I suggest you consider some of the following:
- If new field/career exists in your current company, see if they would be willing to allow you to take on some training or misc work assignments so you can begin your learning and give you direct experience right where you are.
- Consider volunteering doing the new work. You can add volunteer work to your resume just like any other work.
- I’m assuming you’re employed but if you aren’t, go ask a business that does your new work if they would be willing to let you work as an unpaid intern doing this new work. Again, you get resume experience. Also, talk to a temp agency to see if you can whip up any interest in giving you an assignment doing your new career work.
- Adjust your thinking about pay and grade level. Assuming you’ve been growing in your existing career, you had to start with probably little to no experience. Starting a new career may involve the need to start at the bottom rung of the job ladder in pay and level but getting on the ladder is the most important goal. For some people the thought of starting at the bottom is too hard to accept but you will find your opportunities are better if you display a willingness to do what it takes.
- If you are going to obtain certification, ask your instructors about leads they have, internships that might exist.
- You will ultimately fair better when you go out to get that new career job if you make personal contact/network rather than submit resumes, so start now to create a network in the business and new chosen field. I often hear people say they will wait to get their degree or certification to start the process. I think that is some bad thinking. Job search takes a long time these days so you need to think and act today to make things happen tomorrow.
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