A recent survey indicated that 48% of American workers said that the pandemic has made them rethink the type of job and career they want in the future, and 53% of American workers said they would retrain for a career in a different field or industry if they had the opportunity.
When asked to list the top issues that led them to re-evaluate their career path, their response was:
- Compensation (50%)
- Work/life balance (38%)
- Limited growth opportunities (34%)
- Being tired of working on the same projects (24%)
- Not feeling challenged professionally (23%).
The survey found that nearly 1 in 4 workers (24%) reported that they are planning to look for a new job once the pandemic is over.
You may have similar aspirations to shift your career direction. Waiting until the pandemic is over might not be the best strategy, given ongoing uncertainties. How to go from the job/industry you’re in now to the one you want? You need to apply a systematic approach:
Step One: Research
Identify the job and industry that would better align with your interests, needs and lifestyle. This is a critical step because this sets the foundation for your job search. You need then to learn all you can about that role and the industry. You can do this through websites, publications, blogs, etc. Pay attention to terminology because this will be key when it comes to preparing your resume and being credible at an interview.
To illustrate, let’s imagine that you’ve been working at a desk as an accounting clerk but you’d really like to work in the exciting, emerging space flight industry along with the Bezos, Musks and Bransons, even Captain Kirk – William Shatner.
Doing some research, you’ve identified an aerospace engineering and operations technologists and technicians field that sounds like a perfect match. Your initial research found that in this role they install, run, and maintain equipment used to develop, test, produce, and sustain aircraft and spacecraft.
Now that you’ve found your dream job, what does this job require? What are the duties, tasks, knowledge, hard skills and soft skills needed to perform this role? In your research you found that math, science, drafting, and information technology knowledge is key. For education, an associate’s degree or a certificate program in engineering technology or a related field is preferred. Soft skills for this role are communication, being detail oriented, interpersonal and problem-solving skills.
Step Two: Self-Assessment
Now you need to compare your current knowledge and experience to the requirements of the role. Ask yourself if you’ve done anything that is similar to what this job is asking for? Identify what do you have and where are the gaps? Are there any similarities? What have you learned or do you need to learn in order to be considered for this role?
In the case of our scenario, you have the math skills and pretty savvy computer skills, learning proprietary software fairly quickly and easily. You may even have an associate’s degree or higher, just not in a related field. Perhaps you “tinker” with engines on the side as a hobby; this is knowledge that you have that can be applicable. Keep in mind all and any learning – if you have the knowledge and it fits the role, and add that to your list. If you have all of the soft skills, you’ll want to remember to illustrate these in your interview.
What can you do to close the gap?
This may involve going back to school or obtaining a certification. It may mean considering a step role that is outside of your current industry, that is a step down from your desired role but will bring you closer to your dream job.
Step Three: Customize Your Resume to Showcase Your Transferable Skills
Now that you’ve made a record of your transferable skills, qualifications and experience, you can match them to the role you’re seeking. You need to customize your resume to showcase these skills. Tailor your resume using the correct vocabulary, phrases, and tasks associated with the role or even used in the job description. Same for interviews.
Consider using a functional resume format that allows employers to focus on qualifications. This is a format where after your summary or objective statement, the next heading is your “Skills and Qualifications.” Build a bullet list of all of the applicable skills you have that match your dream job. Use keywords from the job description to inform your skill categories. Then, include four to five bullets underneath each skill category listing your most relevant and impressive experiences or achievements. Instead of simply listing tasks you’ve completed or responsibilities you’ve held, communicate the impact you’ve driven and the results you’ve gained with numbers. Lastly, in the objective statement, you’ll want to make your desire to transition into a new industry very obvious. Be sure to include your primary experience, relevant skills and even your overarching career goals.
If you need help, contact an Abel Personnel Recruiter.
- Benefits Pro, “Study finds ‘great reset’ happening among American workers,” Scott Wooldridge, June 29, 2021 https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/06/29/study-finds-great-reset-happening-among-american-workers/?slreturn=20210925102756
- Prudential Newsroom, “Shifting worker expectations guide the coming talent migration,” June 22, 2021