How to Position Yourself for a Career Change
Have you ever made a career change? If so, how did it go? Most life sciences professionals are overwhelmed by the thought of making a career transition. Any type of change, whether it be to a new industry or a new position within the same industry, can be daunting. Some common career shifts include moving from academia to the private sector and transitioning to a different field of scientific study. Many people feel as though any element of change will force them to start all over and lose a lot of time. While learning new things will usually be part of the career transition process, you don’t have to completely abandon your previous skills and knowledge.
Why are you interested in making a career change? Are you interested in making more money? Do you want to feel more challenged at work? Regardless of if your motivation is to increase your salary or find a job that is more interesting to you, preparing for a career change can take a lot of time and energy. Here are some tips on how to successfully position yourself for a career change!
Get clear on your new job target
Once you are sure that you want to make a shift in your career, research everything you can about the new environment, job responsibilities and sector the organization is in. Are there any new skills, certifications or training that you need to acquire? Think about why you are interested in this new area. What makes you a good fit for these positions even though you might not have much professional experience? Searching online for the current job outlook for the position you want and the common career development options can be beneficial. Finally, review a few job postings online for the roles you want to target.
Edit or redo your resume
Some professionals are surprised to learn that despite all of the technology we have today, your resume is still a vital part of your job search strategy. The best resumes tell the story of your background in a clear and concise way. Compelling resumes also demonstrate your impact and allow the reader to connect the dots on how you might be able to help their organization. When targeting a new position editing or redoing your resume is usually ideal, so you can position yourself as a viable candidate. Highlight your transferable skills and include the right keywords necessary for the new job you are focusing on.
Prepare yourself to discuss the change in an interview
How do you plan to talk about your desire to make a career transition? Why do you want to pivot at this point in your career? What about your background makes you a good fit for the role? These types of questions can be difficult enough to answer for yourself, let alone in an interview. Consider practicing responses to these kinds of questions with a colleague or coach. Go back and evaluate the job postings you researched earlier. Think about how you can tie in your previous experience with what the role is looking for.
Network in new environments
Networking can be vital when you’re planning to make a career change. Do you only know people from your current industry and organization? Attending events for the new industry or position can help you meet life science professionals who are already where you’d like to be. Joining professional development associations is another way to get exposure to the new career you’re targeting. Listening and being involved in conversations regarding the position you desire can also help you ensure that it would be a good fit. Networking is another way to enhance your job search, because you never know whose company might be hiring for the role you want.
Positioning yourself for a career change can seem intimidating and time consuming. However, there are a few things you can do to maximize your efforts and decrease the amount of time it takes to secure a new role. Getting clear on the new job you want to focus on, and editing or redoing your resume to target those roles are the first steps. Then, you can prepare yourself to discuss the career change in an interview. Finally, networking in new places, where professionals who are already in the positions you want frequent is a good idea. What area of a career change do you need to work on the most?
Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.