Making the Shift: how to make a successful career change

Road with "new career ahead" written and arrow facing forward

Changing careers is not an easy task. The SPC Career Services team has some great advice on making a career change as simple and swift as possible.

“The average person will change careers 10 times by the age of 50.” US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Maybe you realize the career you originally chose is not for you. Maybe you have lost your job due to Covid-19 and are looking for a reset. But how do you make a career change? Read on and find out.

Step 1: HAVE A JOB TARGET YOU BELIEVE IN

First let us make sure you know what industry you want to work in. You should have an idea what you want to do. If you don’t know the answer to that question, SPC can help.

Focus 2 is the assessment we use to find what fits your career interests and work-life balance goals. This will help you as you begin to think about a career change.

Step 2: DEVELOP YOUR CAREER STORY

Regardless of why you want to make a career switch, it is important to know how to frame your career story and explain to your potential new employer why you are looking to make a change. This career story should be formed into something called an elevator pitch.  An elevator pitch is typically a 30- to 60-second highlight reel of who you are, why you are switching careers, and why that employer should be interested in you.

Always frame your move as positive. It’s a path to advance your career, not to escape a dead end or bad job. It does not matter if your current job is “boulder pusher in purgatory”. Boulder pushing is a great job. You just want greater advancement opportunities. If you have one, give a positive external reason for leaving. Having a positive major life change like getting married or having a baby; great reasons to make the switch!

Step 3: BRAND YOURSELF

It is important to create a personal brand because it can help to show how you will fit in with an organization’s culture. Using an app like LinkedIn is a great way to get your brand out to industry leaders in the field you want to move into. Keep in mind you will want your brand to reflect your career story.

Step 4: USE RÉSUMÉ KEYWORDS

Résumé writing is the most critical step. First, identify transferable skills. This can be customer service, cash handling, reconciling, etc. Remember when you train for one job you will often train for several others too.

Add these transferable skills in your skills section. Most importantly, when listing skills, use the verbiage listed on the job notice. This should get you by the artificial intelligence used to weed out applications that do not list keywords in the job description.

The road to a new career is not an easy one. Ask yourself if everything is clear. Is there a reason an employer might be confused about your qualifications? If so, come and speak with career services! We will help you with your journey. Be prepared, work hard, do not give up, and you too can make the switch to the fulfilling career you want.

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