Updated: Nov 30, 2021
Applying for a job? Do you want to change career with no experience? Here's how to get hired when you are changing careers.
A visit to the coffee shop changed my friend’s life. Here's her story:
Sitting at the coffee shop, she happened to overhear the conversation of someone sitting next to her who seemed to be working in Branding and Marketing. My friend, who was then a technical consultant, has always had a flair for Marketing Strategies.
After a quick thought, she realized she had been overthinking her situation for too long and wanted to take action to change her career.
The first thing that came to her mind was David Allen's famous book on time management-"Getting Things Done". She reminded herself, “If an action takes less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it is defined".
That's when she decided to prepare her resume to her strengths and share it with a few friends working in the Marketing Industry. She had no prior experience in this line of work, but she could almost instantly relate to a good number of transferable skills that she could use in her new role.
In a few months, she quit her job and took up a role in Marketing. She could not have been happier with her career. She loves doing what she does every single day.
How did she get hired without prior experience?
What did she do to feel confident about her skills in a new industry?
This is what she understood about career changes -
Changing careers does not mean you go back to being a fresher again
Neither does it mean your prior experience goes to trash
It does not have an age limit
And decided to look at the brighter side of things
Changing careers to one that you like makes you a more confident person
It improves work-life balance and quality of life
And yes, you stand a better chance for promotion and career growth.
Move Into A New Career With Little Or No Experience
Are you ready to spin a career change in your favour during an interview and get hired?
Leverage Your Work Experience – Bring Something To The Table
First, spend some time evaluating your experience. Type it up on your computer on use a pen and paper. Whichever works for you!
STRENGTHS - Weigh in on the strengths that have helped you achieve your milestones/accomplishments
ACHIEVEMENTS - Let’s talk numbers and percentage. Only if it's applicable for your profile (for example, the number of new clients that you have brought in through Sales, or your percentage of contribution towards business development, or more such). Be definitive about your achievements.
CONTRIBUTION - Look at the bigger picture and see through it (for example, what difference has your contribution made towards the growth of the company/its goals?). Don’t forget to include this in your resume
VALUE ADDITION: Correlate your strengths with the new career and come up with a list of value adds/assets that will make you a worthy recruit
The outcome of this will make you feel confident and will motivate you to take the next step.
Weave your Career Story – The Narrative Approach
You know your strengths. Why not narrate it in a way that keeps the recruiter intrigued?
Tell your career story in simple words. Here are some tips -
Keep a stock of four or five stories illustrating your key strengths. Make it interesting.
Use voice and gestures for dramatic effect. But be careful to avoid sounding over-rehearsed!
Add a curiosity element – What has led you to change your line of work? Talk about that precise moment(or many moments) that made you want to switch careers.
Have clarity of speech and try not rambling!
Also, when you apply for a job, remember to maintain a minimal resume that highlights your strengths and accomplishments more than the detailed list of responsibilities that you have had up your sleeve in each of the roles (Honestly, the latter doesn’t matter more than your attitude towards work when you are changing careers with no experience)
Who Said Work Experience Is The Only Proof Of Your Capability?
If that’s the case, none of the fresh graduates would have ever had a chance to bag those lucrative offers from well-known companies!
Let’s refresh your memory a bit. Walk back to those good old college days when one of the most important parts (only second to all the fun times you’ve had) was campus placements or the first job that you landed yourself.
How did you land your first ever job?
It wasn’t your work experience – you obviously had none then!
It was purely based on the confidence that you instilled in the recruiter, the positive attitude that you showed towards the job, the internships and proof of concepts that you got your hands on, and your excitement towards getting the job that helped you bag the role.
For example, if you are a content creator, write a nice piece. Tell a story about what inspired you to create that content. Or if you are interested in digital design, get your hands on Adobe Illustrator and create stunning designs. Show the recruiter your creation, talk about the what you did and how you did it.
Attract The Attention Of Recruiters
Most recruiters do not embrace career change resumes easily. You’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you keep relying on job portal applications alone. A proactive approach towards attracting the attention of the recruiters is exactly what you need to do!
Pull in the recruiter’s attention by dropping in a personalised email while applying for an open position
Get creative when it comes to expressing your area of interest, your strengths, and why you are the best fit for the role
Show them how you stand out - What’s in your resume that’s not there in the rest?
Ready To Change Careers, Impress The Recruiter And Get Hired?
Your confidence and positive attitude during interviews can do wonders and have lucky stars swinging your way. It all depends on :
How well you narrate your story
How well you show your interest towards the role and company (Ask questions relevant to the roles and responsibilities during the interview)
Can you make a difference to the company? Tell the recruiters how you’d do it with situation-based examples
Tell them why this interview is important to you (dream job, dream company etc)
In conclusion, companies are open to the idea of hiring people who have the right skill set as opposed to the right qualification. If you believe you're capable of doing a job, go ahead. Apply for that job right now, just like my friend did.
Make sure you have a strong career change resume, an interesting career story to tell, the right attitude, adaptability, willingness to learn on the go, and passion to deliver!