But it's not impossible. In fact, it can be a lot easier than you think. We asked some of our members what their top questions were around changing careers and decided that it's not just our members that need thoughtful answers! So we're sharing with all of you!
Career gaps are often times unavoidable. But it's not to say that they can't be a force of positive on your resume! When you're re-entering the workforce after a career gap, we highly encourage you to address it head on.
Don't brush over a gap, especially if it's time that you spent at home raising a family or taking care of a family member. Instead think of the work you did (because being a stay at home parent is a hard job!) and train yourself to think about it in a different way.
Use this example: If you are a stay at home parent, and you manage the family finances. Instead of being vague or uncertain of what to say, phrase it in a way that demonstrates expertise.
As the manager of the financials for the household, I handle all accounts payable and receivable. I also establish a budget and ensure that it is accurately and effectively utilized and tracked.
When you start thinking seriously about the work that you do as a parent or caregiver, you very likely have skills that are incredibly beneficial to business! Come up with strong statements to help you position your time away from the workforce as something powerful and valuable.
Job Hunts are BRUTAL. It takes time, is filled with rejection and can be a total shot to your confidence. Staying positive during all the no's and defeat can be super challenging. But not at all impossible. Here are a few strategies you can take to keep yourself motivated and positive during a job hunt:
- Continue to build your skills in areas you feel you need improvement on or that you want to be amazing at. By spending your spare time working on building skills that are on your resume already can help to improve your results at interviews. It will also demonstrate that you take initiative to learn things and are actively working on improving your areas of weakness. If you're not working at all - take a class or sign up for free online ones through Edx or Udemy!
- Start making personal connections. Talk to everyone you know - it's much easier to obtain a job if you're a referral of a current employee. Attend networking events and job fairs. Don't just sit in a corner and hand out your resume - actually talk to people (even if it's scary!). Bring personal business cards to exchange with people and actually follow up. It's all about the follow up!
- Focus your energy on things you love! When we're in a rut during a job hunt it can be really easy to focus on the bad things instead of the things we love. Go spend time with friends, your partner, participate in things you maybe have been wanting to do but haven't had the time to. Fill your free time with things you really love so you have something to look forward.
- Keep track, and be consistent. We're big believers on tracking progress. It's a great way to reflect on how far you've come. It can be super easy to just apply, apply, apply and forget where you applied to. Find a solid tracking system, note which applications got a response, which ones got interviews and any feedback you got. Write notes about each experience. The more information you have to work with the more you can find areas to improve your resume or your interview skills. Also keep track of the questions you ask interviewers (because yes, you should be asking some) it can be helpful for future interviews.
I've been job hunting for awhile, how do I stay positive amongst so many rejections?
I'm Not Qualified...
I've been wanting to change career to a completely different industry. But I don't have any of the qualifications listed on the job descriptions. What do I do?
Not having the required skills for a position you really want can be a challenge. It's not completely impossible though to get a job where you're not 100% qualified. Most people don't meet all of the qualifications in a job description. If you're really hoping to change careers and don't appear to meet the job requirements try this exercise:
Write down all of the job requirements for the job you want. Keep this as a reference point for things you can compare but also things you want or need to learn. Then, take a walk through your day to day for each job on your resume (do your best to remember the ones from a little farther back). Write down all of the things you do in a day - even if it feels small. Then compare these skills to the ones in the job descriptions. There's likely some that match. If not, try looking deeper into the job requirements - figure out what soft skills or non technical skills they might require and see if anything you do matches that. If you're still struggling, try working with a resume writer or career coach - they're pros at helping you translate your current skills to jobs that don't appear to match up.
If it's technical skills you're lacking, try taking free classes or online courses. There are plenty of them out there. Meetup is a great resource as well as small business organizations. Demonstrate that you're trying to learn the skills - and practice them! Offer up your newly learned skills to groups that could use the help for free!
If you're ready for a change in careers or you're just looking for the next big step - it really is about knowing what you are capable of and reflecting that on your resume. Walk through your day and figure out what skills you can pull from your day to day that you're not listing on your resume. Learn new skills by taking free classes or attending in person seminars in your city. Ask for help - talk to mentors, learn best practices and do the research and work to get the skills you're lacking.
Don't give up just because you're not confident in your ability to do a job - just keep improving your capabilities!