Change Careers With What You Already Know

Change Careers With What You Already Know

How to leverage your entire life’s experience into changing your career.

This is the Catchy Intro

You have way more experience in the field than you think. GASP What field? ALL the fields! It sounds dumb but I’m serious. It’s easy to forget, but all jobs are full of monotonous tasks. Soft skills are gimmies, they’re kinda obvious. Teamwork, leadership and sweet-talking your boss into giving you more cold hard cash. These are things we all do, so let’s focus a little more on hard skills. At the very least, let’s use hard skills to demonstrate our soft skills. You’re probably thinking, “I have like zero hard skills, that’s why I can’t find a job.” Nah, you have some, we just need to get a little creative.

My Pudding is in the Proof

So to be honest, my specific hobbies made this logical leap easier. My interests transfer over well. I’m a writer (fiction & expository), I’m a public speaker, I dabble in ethical hacking, and my previous job was demolition supervision. All these have some pretty obvious correlations. Writing affects everything, from commenting code to writing emails. Public speaking shows I have clear communication. Ethical hacking teaches me to reverse engineer and as a supervisor, I can lead teams. Like I said obvious stuff. So first get those obvious correlations out of the way. As you are reading this you may want to jot down a list. I take notes on everything throughout the day from blog post ideas to my shopping list.

Where to Next?

So here’s what you do. Find people with the exact job you want, and find out what they do every day. Be as precise as possible. Preferably at the same company you want to hire into. Find out the boring stuff, the stuff no one thinks is worth mentioning. Do they go to a lot of meetings? Great, you’re a professional meeter. You can meet with the best of em. Do they work autonomously? Show how organized you are. The trick is finding real people, doing the exact job, and talking to them about it. Most people are really nice. When they find out what you’re doing they often offer more help. I frequently have people say “Oh you’re applying? Use me as a reference!” Pick their brains, ask about the day to day monotony, then figure out how to demonstrate your ability.

The main skill for that job can be taught. In fact, even if they hire someone with much more experience, they’re going to teach them a lot in the on-boarding. It’s the little stuff that is so hard to teach. As a coder, if I can prove I have the basic ability to code, they can teach me the rest.

If I try to compete on a purely writing code level, I’ll get my ass kicked. I’m a decent coder, but I’m no savant. So that’s not how I will frame my resume. I need to make myself shine by sneaking around the side. Hey I write fiction, therefore I can comment code well. I’m a public speaker, so I will communicate effectively with my peers. I taught myself to code, therefore I do not need oversight. While others try to show how well they code, I’m showing how perfectly I fit this job and this company.

Use Your Own Experiences

So we’ve found out the real job description and used it. Now let’s use your experience. What are your hobbies? Do you like Hiking? Than you know how to persevere, you don’t turn back when things get tough. Do you paint? Perfect, you can envision a completed project, take methodical steps, and build towards the big picture. In a band? You effortlessly collaborate with others with a single goal in mind.

You absolutely must leverage every skill you’ve developed. Especially if you have any awards, trophies, or certifications. I don’t care if it’s just a participation trophy. Leverage it. I’m a hyper competitive person, I play in video game tournaments on occasion, I use that when it’s applicable.

Gamify your resume if you want. Make it into a competition, may the best resume win. Get weird, get wild and get creative. When writing a resume, you do not want to blend in. That’s the worst possible thing. As a career changer, if you blend in, your resume will be first in the trash..

So that’s really the bulk of this topic. There is a lot more to career changing, and if there is interest in the topic I will delve more into it. If you’re finding you don’t have any transferable skills, you do, look harder. If you’re still convinced you don’t have them, well maybe it’s time to turn off the tv, shut off the phone, and start up some new hobbies.

Love you all -Chance

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