You’re getting stuck into your search for a new job on a different career path but you keep getting hit with the same problem.
Every job description asks for experience in a relevant role.
You’ve never done anything like these roles before, so how are you going to change careers with no relevant experience?
It’s a common situation for career changers but it doesn’t have to be a stumbling block. There are ways around this that will leaving you wondering why you dismissed so many opportunities in the past.
I’m going to take you step-by-step through a process that will put you ahead of most people who do have that experience. But first, a bit of a reality check on the whole situation to get you thinking about it a little differently.
What Is The Reality About Applying For A Job With No Relevant Experience?
Let’s start with the job market as a whole.
Things have changed dramatically in recent times. The world of employment is very different.
There is no longer an expectation that people stay in a career for life and, in fact, a desire to seek a career that fits with what you really want in life is actually appealing to employers these days.
CVs and resumes are not just about your industry-specific skills anymore, at least they shouldn’t be. There is more importance placed on the softer skills that are transferrable across most roles.
We’re talking about things like:
- Emotional Intelligence.
- Initiative and Enterprise.
There are many more that could be added to this list. These are known as ‘Employability Skills’. There is a big difference between these and the industry-specific skills that you think would be expected of someone applying for a role.
Hard skills can be taught relatively easily, but these employability skills are far more valuable to an employer over the long term.
You don’t simply write these down as skills you possess thought, you need to think of situations where you have demonstrated them.
Not only is the way employers are looking at applicants changing, but the way job opportunities are presented to the world is changing too. You no longer need to rely on the classic online job listing sites to find a job.
Co-incidentally, these are the places you are most likely to find the phrase ‘experience in a relevant role required’.
You can take control of your job search by looking for the roles that you want, rather than what is out there and we’ll look at that shortly.
So, what should you do if you are changing careers and have no relevant experience?
Step 1: Forget What You Don’t Have, What Do You Have To Offer?
You may not have had a role in your newly chosen career before, but you do have some of those transferrable ’employability skills’ we talked about earlier.
Make a list of the skills you have that are relevant to your new career path and dive into the experience you have that demonstrate these skills. Create your own version of ‘experience in a relevant role’.
While you’re at it, tell your story.
There is a reason you decided to change careers and, more importantly, a reason you have chosen your new career path. Make sure you can tell this story well and relate it to why you are going to be a great fit for a job in this career.
Combine this story with your employability skills and use it to craft your CV/Resume and help inform your answers to questions in interviews and conversations.
In particular, think of what your existing experience can add to a role in your new career. You are going to be bringing something different to the table and it might just be an angle that appeals to potential new employers.
Step 2: Live Your New Career As If You Have It Already
You might not have relevant experience for your change in careers, but that shouldn’t stop you from acting as if you’re the most qualified person for it.
Immerse yourself into the industry as if you were living it already. Stay up to date with the latest insights, important players and best practices.
This isn’t entirely about getting yourself up to speed for potential employers, it’s also about convincing yourself that you are the right person for any new role.
If there is a gap in your knowledge that you feel you really must fill, find a way of changing that. If you can show that you are investing in your future in this new career it is another factor that will appeal to potential employers.
This doesn’t have to mean going on courses, it could mean finding out what you need to know from someone on the inside. This leads us nicely onto the next step…
Step 3: Find Your Way Into Your New Career
As I mentioned before, job listing sites are not the only way to start your new career. In fact, they are probably the worst way to do so.
Now that you are immersing yourself in your new career, you should be coming across people that are doing what you want to do and people that have influence over the decisions made within your industry.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people. We all love to talk about ourselves and these people will be no exception.
Informational interviewing is a valuable technique for gaining knowledge on a subject right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. It also gives you a fantastic opportunity to show what you are made of. More jobs are filled these days by employers finding the kind of person they want in their company rather than the person that ticks the most relevant boxes.
You’re not only using this time to make a good impression to others, you’re also finding out if the people you talk to are who you want to work with. It’s a two-way interview process, while not feeling like an interview.
You shouldn’t stop there though. It is easier than ever to start your own business these days. If that sounds way out of your league, just keep in mind that a ‘business’ can be anything you want it to be. If that means being a freelancer starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, so be it.
All you need these days is a listing on a site like fiverr.com or upwork.com to start getting work in a newly chosen career. You have control over the time you spend on it and what work you take on, so you don’t even have to leave your current work to get started.
Whether you agree with it or not, gig-work and informational products are big business and you can offer your services in almost any field. It takes learning on the job to another level entirely.
All of this is aimed at starting to grow your presence, your brand in your new career. You’re not going to be another cog in the machine any more, you’re aiming towards becoming a major player in a career that’s better suited to you.
If you know you need to change something about your career, you’ve already made the first step. Most people don’t even know they need to change careers to make life better for themselves. But the next step is often blocked by the thought of changing careers with no relevant experience.
Often, the steps you need to take to make progress in a new career are smaller than you think.
Start with what skills you have already, immerse yourself in your chosen industry and find your way in by growing a network of people that can help you.
You’ll find that every day gets you closer to living the ideal career and subsequently a better life!