Getting pigeon-holed is something many of our new clients report when first coming to us for career change coaching. Usually, pigeon-holing happens as a result of using outdated methods, like recruitment companies, to attempt to change career. Recruiters have the approach that you’re only as good as your last role, don’t expect a recruiter to use lateral thinking or focus on your transferrable skills.
To side-step the ‘square peg for a a square hole’ mentality, here are my top two must-do’s to successfully change careers and recruitment companies are no where in sight! One, finding ways to differentiate yourself from the experienced competition and two, showing what you can do, not just what you have done. If you can focus on going about your career change with just these two points, you can only succeed.
How to differentiate yourself from the experienced competition:
Chances are, you’re changing industries, you have many transferrable skills and a passion and interest for your new industry, but don’t have the experience to make you an ‘easy’ hire for recruiters or large structured companies straight off the bat. Follow these steps to differentiate yourself:
1. Your mindset and your approach need to be in line. Think more like an entrepreneur, adopt a more creative, strategic and pro-active approach. If you want it badly enough, you’ll feel the fear and do it anyway! Once you start, it does get easier.
2. Eliminate recruitment agencies and any middle man. Take 100% responsibility for your career and your career change and take your progress into your own hands.
3. Do your research and find companies who align with your core values, where you ‘fit’ their culture and working style. Make a list of your top 10-15.
4. Follow your companies of choice on LinkedIN and stay aware of any company or industry news.
5. See which associations they belong to, what industry events or publications are they involved with, find opportunities in the physical world where you can go along and meet them.
6. Network and be open, even in groups or at events that may be quite general, you never know who you may strike up a conversation with and whom they might know, follow the trail.
7. Learn the structure of the companies you’re interested in, what are there upcoming plans and look to see if they’re recruiting.
8. Work out what you want to do there and find people on LinkedIN who are doing those roles. Look through your network, do you have anyone in common, can you get an introduction? If so, reach out and send a short, flattering email asking for a 15 minute coffee to learn more about what they do. If you don’t have anyone in common, find their email and contact them directly. Or pick up the phone and call the company and ask to speak to them.
9. Give the company a call, if they have HR, ask to speak to them, if they don’t ask the receptionist who you need to speak to, to discuss opportunities and suitability with in x department.
10. Be confident, be forthright and show your passion, show your interest in any communication you have with the company.
11. Ask the HR person, the receptionist, the person you have an informational interview with, if you can send in your CV and cover letter and if they will pass it on to the hiring manager / director. If they’re not hiring, ask them ‘what they would do in your shoes?’
2. How to create opportunities to show what you can do:
Do things that show the skills you have, but aren’t apparent on your CV or through your recent experience. Think of diversifying, how you can show specific skills you know are core skills for your desired new role. The great thing about this is it isn’t limited to using your skills in ‘work’ situations, it can come in many different forms.
1.Doing work experience can be many valuable opportunities in one, if maximised correctly. You get to learn the day-to-day reality of the company, role, industry while making connections and diversifying your experience and also showing your commitment. What skills can you leverage that would be valuable to your company of choice, can you trade-off your financial knowledge for work experience?
To uncover work experience opportunities, look through your network, you are more than likely going to have someone valuable right under your nose who has links in your industry or company of choice. Reach out and ask for a few days or weeks work experience. If you need to, use your holiday or weekends to make this happen.
2. Join an association, a networking group. If for instance, relationship building is important to your desired new role, think of all the ways you can show you’re strengths in that area.
3. Set up a group, an online community or a blog, if you want to show leadership, commercial awareness, writing ability or awareness of politics for instance, how better than to showcase it.
4. Join Toastmasters, a charity you’re aligned with, or a local community group. Showing you’re well-rounded and have causes you’re passionate about is important. You’d be surprised how many CVs I see, where individuals have no real passions or interests to talk about.
5. Find a course that will show your commitment to this step and that you are open and keen to learn.
If you’re ready for change, willing to take 100% ownership of your career and are interested in getting 1-1 expert career coaching support to guarantee your career success –
Book your free phone consultation with one of our career change coaches today:
To learn more about the specific area of coaching that fits you, go to
Life Coaching and
Coaching for Companies.