Changing Careers: Are You a Burnout, or a Cross-Functional Dynamo Seeking a Challenge?

The good news to be taken from such an obnoxious title is that if you’re an attractive candidate in your current career, you’ll be an attractive candidate in another. Assuming you’re looking at a lateral move, or relatively equal-level job in a new career, you’ve got a good chance in succeeding.

The premise: if you have a proven record in what you do now, you’re likely to get hired doing something different. All you need to do is paint a picture for your prospective new employer. Tell him how your experience relates to this new position. Market yourself as cross-functional.

I’m going to assume you’re a job-hunting machine; that you have refined your process to the point that finding a job is your job. Good. If not, get started by checking out the myriad of job advice columns on sites such as The Ladders.

What follows are tips I know work not by themselves, but as mere elements to “career-changing” campaigns. As always, it all boils down to research and implementation. These tips are recommendations to help increase your chances in landing an interview in your career-changing job hunt. Don’t limit yourself to them; find out your own personal answer to “Why Should We Hire You?” and craft your resume and other elements around this answer. It is your theme.

Tailor Your Resume

Just a couple of quick points on this topic:

  1. If you have an objective statement, focus it on the new career. Do not simply make a generic, jack-of-all-trades statement; generic statements are always weak. Objectives should be strong and concrete.
  2. “Dial down” industry-specific terminology. Do not assume that your new career employer will understand the processes, tasks, and accomplishments you are telling them about in your resume. Be particularly aware of acronyms that have become second language in your current career.

Career Comparison Chart

This is the number one way to convince your future employer that you fit the position prior to an interview. It is an excellent visual that allows an employer to quickly grasp the relationship between your current job and the position he needs to fill. A Career Comparison Chart is an extra element proving your research into the position. It provides insight into how your abilities give the new employer a cross-functional advantage.

Make an excel chart that lists, on the left-hand side, the employer’s required responsibilities in the job listing. Next, list the corresponding experience and responsibilities in your current/old career on the right-hand side. Emphasize cross-functionality. Dig deep, but do not exaggerate.

Career Change Chart

A Career Comparison Chart

Take a look at the example: In the top-most comparison, the marketing manager gives a brief statement indicating her knowledge of how marketing efforts strained production line operations. In addition, she implies that she took the time to learn about operational processes that were affected by her marketing programs. She then implemented logistically-sound programs. This is a cross-functional advantage that the employer might not get from hiring an operations manager with little or no marketing experience. All of that in thirteen words. Choose your words wisely and make each one advance your theme: “why you should hire me.”

Meetings and Organizations

Find out what organizations, meetings, trade shows, etc., are occurring in your new career industry. I know a lady that did this almost exclusively for about two or three months. Pretty soon, most of the industry “people” knew her, enjoyed being around her, and eventually started calling to invite her to the functions. In finding out more her previous job functions, they realized how valuable her skills would be in their industry. Needless to say, when openings came up, she was in. Check your major area papers and job boards for these types of events.

Good luck in your career change. Remember that you are a cross-functional dynamo.




Last Edited: December 4, 2011 @ 1:36 am

Comments

  1. 20 and Engaged says:

    This is an awesome idea. I’m definitely going to try to network at as many events as possible. I’m hoping that will be a way to get me in the door at a new job.

  2. A lot of people are afraid to change careers especially if they had gained substantial years of experience for that career. These tips will definitely help them to get another career of their choosing. Previous experience will always count even though it may not be related to the job that you are applying for.

  3. @20 and Engaged – I hope it works for you. Best of luck.
    @Stan – Thanks for the comment.