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Changing Careers is Different From Just Changing Jobs: Ten Marketing Tips for Career Changers

Changing Careers is Different From Just Changing Jobs: Ten Marketing Tips for Career Changers

When you are changing careers, you have to market yourself differently from those just changing jobs from one company to a competitor. These ten tips are inspired by a series of tweets I wrote based on my latest book, Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career.

1) Identifying your new career interest is a necessary step, but only the first step.

Many career changers spend too much time analyzing what they want to do and not enough time going after it. You better refine what you want by actually getting out on the market.

[Related: Job Hunting When You Have Many Interests]

2) Your competitors have a head start and you have the burden of proof.

Yes, you bring skills and experience from a previous career, but remember that employers prioritize expediency, and other candidates who already have relevant experience will be the more expedient hires. Your proof is the advantage you can convey that makes up for the additional runway time you may need.

3) Be careful not to come across as too much of a newbie.

Yes, you’ll do informational interviews and schedule networking meetings to ask for advice. But these are also about putting your best foot forward – you have to know the basics and ask intelligent questions.

4) Traditional job search avenues — resumes and recruiters — hurt rather than help.

Instead, focus on networking and getting directly to decision-makers. This way, you have a chance to share your story and your proof.

5) Avoid job boards.

I don’t recommend job boards because the employer who posted is not looking for career changers. Job boards call for resumes and are often manned by recruiters. See point above!

[Related: Five Things I Learned From Applying for 200+ Jobs]

6) A resume is tricky -- it’s a retelling of your past, completely unrelated.

You still need a resume, and it needs to be accurate. But if you can use more general terms, and not the jargon particular to the industry you’re leaving, that is one way of smoothing the transition to your new career.

7) LinkedIn has other features helpful to a career changer that a resume does not.

That Summary box right at the top of your profile is prime real estate to share your story and your proof. Sections such as Volunteer and Publications also give active career changers a dedicated place to show they’re more than their current job.

8) Craft a networking introduction to emphasize your next career so others see you as an active peer.

Most people waste their networking introduction on what they’ve done – i.e., the old career. Focus on what you’ve done toward your new career – volunteer work, consulting, classes, professional associations, etc.

9) Keep the focus on how you will help the employer, not your career change journey.

Yes, it’s interesting to hear how you discovered this new passion and your against-all-odds story to focus on this new adventure. But what are you going to do to solve the employer’s problem? That’s why they’re hiring, and if you can solve their problem, that’s why they’ll hire you.

10) Your cover letter should never include the words “change” or “transition.”

You’re there to solve a problem. Your change and transition story only highlights how new you are!

Have you changed careers? What marketing tips have worked for you?

[Related: Not Getting Interviews? This is Probably Why.]

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Caroline Ceniza-Levine specializes in career change (her latest adventure is running Costa Rica FIRE). She is the creator of Making FIRE Possible and the author of Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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