As hundreds of jobs evolve into new configurations each year – and others simply vanish – smart workers are looking to the future by staying on the move.
Futurists tell us that young people starting work today will probably hold more than ten jobs in a lifetime. And in some areas, that’s already happening. The multi-gig economy is growing apace – often more by default than desire!
But as to careers? Well, as of now, three careers across different spaces is becoming quite the norm. And by careers, we mean a progression of several increasingly responsible positions within one sector or industry over a significant time.
Many people go as far as they can in one industry only to find themselves retrenched or losing interest as the landscape or earning potential changes. Others – many others – take advantage of a lessening in responsibility as families grow up – to pursue passions they’ve been keen to explore for years.
They look around for greener fields. But having spotted them, even the most well-referenced job seekers generally find that a sideways move is considerably harder than it looks.
Very often there’s a simple hidden reason behind that – the job seeker’s lack of understanding of how their existing experience can provide value in a new sector/industry. As executive recruiters, this is something we see far too often. “I have all these wonderful skills – and a great record of achievement. I could pretty well walk in anywhere and they’re welcome me with open arms.” This is an attitude we endeavour to correct almost every day of the week.
Yes, your skills may be great. Yes, you may have a Grade A record of achievement. Yes, you may come weighted with scads of experience which a potential employer will acknowledge. But really, what they want to know is what you can do for them. Right now. A detailed rundown of what you did for another employer quite some time ago – possibly in a world that’s changed anyway, isn’t enough to land you a role in a new type of business.
So, tip number one is to make yourself contemporary.
As in come into the present. Look at who you are, what you have to offer and what you could conceivably do for a new employer tomorrow. How would you value add?
You need to decide where you are and where you want to be; establish a direction and set your compass. But make sure it’s a nice flexible ‘compass’ so you’re not blind to any opportunities that may be lurking in the outfield.
Then get out and research.
Use the internet. Explore websites. Network. Talk to people already working in the companies and the roles you hanker for. What are these employers looking for? How much of that do you already have? What do you need to fill the gaps? How will you go about it?
Realise that continual learning is the new black.
Think study, professional development, volunteering, maybe joining a Board at a local school or club; attending seminars and building knowledge through online learning. If it fits, consider a small second job or some consulting.
And make no mistake here. You can’t afford to bog down in the one place. Study in any form may be a big commitment but continual learning is what it’s all about. Personally and professionally, it pays off.
Be the person you want to be: polish up your confidence and resilience and start applying for roles
Be prepared for knockbacks. But if you see these as opportunities to gain valuable feedback that you can act on, then you’re going forward.
Go into training for the long haul. Pay attention to your health, well-being and presentation. Do whatever you can to bring yourself up into stellar physical and mental form. When you’re feeling confident and on top of the world, you have an indefinable edge that gets you noticed and makes you memorable.
A clear, cohesive resume is vital.
Reshape your CV – with no fibs and no exaggerations.
A modern resume should clearly describe where you’ve worked (since the Year 2000), your role, the duration of your stay and in a few sentences describe the actual company and your part in it. Don’t list responsibilities per se. Instead, dot point 5 or 6 of the achievements you made in each role. (Need help? Check our Windsor website for this service.
Highlight your transferable skills.
What are they? These are the soft, formal or technical skills you’ve acquired along the way that can be used in whatever sector you’re in. Examples are leadership, relationship building, management, mentoring, organisation and so on. Often in a CV they’re referred to as Core Skills or Professional Capabilities. SEEK has compiled an excellent checklist which you can explore by clicking here.
Then, swallow your pride and show us your attributes.
Attributes are all those traits and talents, characteristics, values and unique ‘bits’ that make you … well…. you! Employers value diversity but they also need to be sure that everyone in their team will be able to get along and work harmoniously together. So, who you are is just as important – some might say more important – as what you are.
Be open, be genuine and above all be truthful.
This is an area where a professional resume writer can be invaluable to anyone who’s averse to tooting their own flute. But if that’s not your thing, read the adverts (and employer websites) very carefully to identify – and use – ‘their’ language. Like – if the shoe fits – wear it!
Talk to your referees
Ask permission to offer their names. Discuss why you plan a move. And offer to forward details of any role you’re being considered for. That way, they know what it’s all about when the reference checking begins. Less time and hassle for them= more informed reference for you!
Your covering letter is the key to getting in the door.
The most powerful but underrated tool you have to unlock new doors is your covering letter. Write a great letter and your CV will get read – with interest.
Your cover letter should leave the recruiter/employer in no doubt as to why you’re making an application and why you’d be a valuable employee. So, it’s a letter of introduction but it’s also a selling device. So, be bold. Take this great chance to market your personal brand and unique benefits.
Using your best writing skills, customise your letter carefully to the employer and the job. Don’t ever use a template. Your cover letter should highlight how your skills (if not your actual experience!) match the requirements of the role so work with the advertisement. This is a one-off chance to establish your unique selling proposition.
Check out the latest in interview techniques.
Skype, phone, selection panel, Board, one-to-one – they can all come into play even before you hit the short list. And there are right ways and wrong ways to do them all. Talk to your Consultant. Get the tips. Then practise, practise, practise. Sorry – but flying an interview is no longer good enough. You need to be prepared.
So, there you have it, a very quick rundown on what you can do to increase your chances of changing your job focus from one sector to another. But there’s lots more information available. Your Windsor Consultant can offer a wealth of advice and you can keep up to date with our insights by following us on LinkedIn