Trading your job as a lawyer for one in marketing? It may sound crazy, but given the current economy, you may need to apply for positions that are outside of your range of experience. But how do you secure gainful employment in this way? Below are five tips on applying for a job outside your usual field – who knows, maybe you will find your true calling in the process!
1. Round up your skills.
Future Force Personnel Services, a staffing firm, recommends that you start by taking inventory of your past experiences, strengths and skills. Do not just glance at your past job titles and decide that they are not relevant.
Really comb through your previous duties to come up with a list of transferable skills. These can include responsibilities like training new staff, giving presentations, multitasking and organizing events. Write down all of the computer programs and technology with which you are familiar. Use your experiences with community groups, college clubs and travel to tout your interpersonal skills.
2. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
This is also known as swallowing your pride. Even if you were at the top of your last field, do not assume that you will immediately take on a leadership role. Remember, this is a new field in which you lack experience. Your willingness to start at a lower position will also show that you are cooperative and eager to learn more.
3. Sell yourself in your cover letter.
This is your big opportunity to share things that are not covered in your resume. Make it unique, showcasing your skills and traits that will make you the best candidate for the job. Make sure you know about the company to which you are applying, so that you can reference its mission and goals. Quintessential Careers, a career development website, offers a wealth of resources to help you write a cover letter that will get you noticed.
4. Tailor your resume.
Even if you have a polished resume, you will need to do some revising. Go through your past job experiences and rewrite the descriptions so that they better match the skills and accomplishments that the new companies are looking for. If you were a nurse and are applying to work in a bank, you should focus on your documentation, organizational and interpersonal skills. Make your past experiences work for the new position. Quintessential Careers also offers resume advice and samples.
5. Prepare for your interview.
Research your prospective company well in advance of your interview. Find out what the job entails and learn as much as you can about the position so that you are not caught off guard. Google the occupation, as well as common interview questions, so that you can mentally prepare your responses. Be ready to fall back on your strengths and experiences, and give specific examples in answering questions whenever possible. You may be well on your way to the job of your dreams — or at least some quality interim experience!
This article was written by Melissa Woodson on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor – an education-technology company that partners with Washington University in St. Louis to offer a premier LLM degree.
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