How to gain Experience after a Career Transition?


Changing your career to a new field is definitely a very hard decision, but it is actually worth taking the risk as you rediscover your passion and find the right path for you. Unfortunately, the hardship that you face doesn’t end when you make the final decision to shift your career. Most employees find themselves return to the starting point and become like fresh graduates again, as they lack the required experience when they apply for their first job in the new field. Although this might seem depressing, don’t worry, Jobzella will guide you on how to gain quick experience in your new field without starting from the bottom.

1. Assess yourself: Most people choose their new field based on their interests, their hobbies or some of their special skills. Sometimes they get attracted to a certain career for its tasks and work. Regardless of how you choose your new career path, there must be some connection to you. So, you need to discover this connection first and study yourself to start your working plan. Once you find your related skills, qualifications, activities, abilities and hobbies, start assessing and grading them in terms of strength and the need for improvement. In other words, list the things that qualifies you to perform the new job efficiently and succeed in your new career. Then, decide which can help you get your first job, and what needs to be enhanced or developed to further strengthen your start in the new career.

2. Study the required qualifications: Now as you understand yourself, and know your points of strength and points of weakness, it is time to assess the requirements and the needed qualifications to successfully work in your new job. Analyze its main tasks, and daily routine to get an idea of how you will be performing your job, and the goals that you will be asked to achieve on weekly, monthly and annual basis. Then, compare what you get here with the needed experience and the lists that you wrote before about yourself. Define what fits the job, and what skills or abilities that you lack. On the other hand, studying the nature of the jobs, will help you get a better idea of how people work in these fields, and how the industry is like.

3. Search for small companies: When you search for companies to work for, sometimes it is better to look for small ones. Small companies offer great opportunities for you to gain experience and grow with the company in the new field that you have selected. On the other hand, sometimes small companies don’t ask for lots of requirements or work experience from new employees. In fact, depending on the field to which you have shifted, sometimes you are offered a training period to teach you how to work, and to get used to the company’s business. Then you are assigned to a full-time position. In this way, companies will be sure that you know how they work, and that you will perform your tasks as required.

4. Get an education (academic and practical experience): Take courses, join workshops and sessions, and even apply to earn degrees if you have to. As long as you don’t have experience, education is your strong ally to land a successful start in your new career path. Getting educated about the new field strengthens your background information. More importantly, it shows employers that you are interested to work in the field and serious about building your career in it. So always try to learn the new skills, and keep yourself updated with all the field’s trends and news. On the other hand, joining courses or taking workshops can help you start practicing the field which gives you an entry-level experience. Search also for certificates, and online courses and tutorials that can help you learn more and can be added to your CV or presented in your portfolio.

5. Start an internship (entry-level experience): An internship does not only train you for how to work in the field and to perform its tasks, it also informs you with its conditions, circumstances, and physical, psychological and mental requirements. It gives you a chance to live the life of a person who works in the field. From one side, it helps you identify the nature of the business: its risks and rewards. But from the other side, it gives you the opportunity to try the new field for a period of time, and gives you experience, which saves you from the regrets of a full-time commitment.

6. Volunteer: If you didn’t find good internships, then volunteering can get you the experience that you need. It doesn’t matter if you got paid or not, but it does matter if you practiced the field and produced some work of your own. Volunteering is a great work experience that you can add on your CV, and is one of the main things employers look for, when hiring a new employee. Considering that there is no contract or specific working hours, you can volunteer and do other work related to the new field at the same time. This can help expand your knowledge and your experience, while you learn about the different branches and sections of the field.

7. Practices and build your portfolio: If you shifted to a new career that was originally a hobby or a free-time activity, which you used to do in the past, then you must have some of your own work samples. The good thing about hobbies is that you do them all the time and keep your finished product or work. This can be useful when you start looking for a first job in a new field, as it builds your portfolio and proves your experience. Even if you didn’t keep what you did, start now and show your passion and interest to your future employers, as you practice what you love. In other words, start writing, drawing, building websites, designing graphics or editing motion videos. Whatever you want to do, start practicing now and show your work in some of the famous platforms like: WordPress blogs, Behance, Flickr and others.

8. Think outside the box: You are taking a huge step and making a big decision that will change your life forever. So it wouldn’t make sense if you follow the traditional ways in looking for jobs, recommendations and companies to hire you in a field that you have no experience in. You must be creative, work harder, and dig deeper and further for unusual opportunities and non-traditional chances that will expand your knowledge, leverage your skills and qualifications and use your interest and passion to prove yourself in the new field. Ask friends, family members, join organizations and participate in competitions and events, do whatever it takes to get some sort of experience that will help you get to your new career path. Never give up, and remember that it wont be easy, unusual changes need unusual chances which all depends on your great patience. 

9. Write an outstanding cover letter and adjust your CV: Employers usually get attracted to the work experience more than anything in your CV, and that is what makes them prefer one candidate over the other. Since you don’t have enough work experience to show to the employers, then you must attract them with your cover letter and work samples. This is your chance to express your thoughts and tell them why you are interested in this new field, and why you will work hard and can achieve more than what is expected. On the other hand, dont forget to adjust your CV, and all your social networking accounts like Jobzella, to match your new interests and career change. Add also your work samples, skills, abilities and hobbies that will support your pursuit of the new field.

10. Be patient: You are building a new path for yourself and your future. So even if you feel that you are not achieving what you want, be patient because the results don’t come out immediately. Everything takes time, even good experience, and success is never born overnight. So everything that you do, and every hardship that you go through will pay off, just don’t give up.

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This post is also available in: Arabic

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