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4 Tips to Ace Interviews in a New Field

Changing careers is a daunting process. While you may feel ready for a big change, the practical challenges of actually accomplishing this change are many and varied. If you’ve decided to strike out on a career shift, don’t let the interview process for your new position make you stumble. Here are a few tips to help you ace it.
  1. Tailor Your Resume
Your resume is the first look that future employers have at your skill set and history. But your resume probably fits your old job more than your new one. Remake the resume with an eye to your new position instead. Start with your education, highlighting elements that can relate to the new career and downplaying those that don’t connect. Rather than simply listing prior positions and duties, put them in a more generic context that shows off your skills. Were you a shift manager at your previous job? Then list how you managed a team of diverse individuals, worked directly with customers, handled service issues, or ran the office alone. Every job has aspects that can relate to a broader set of work skills, so talk up these parts.
  1. Focus on the Future
Don’t dwell too much on your past work history, except those parts that show a clear relation to the job for which you’re applying. Instead, focus on how your experience shows that you can change and grow. While detailing your work history with the interviewer, make a clear path from earlier jobs to newer ones that required you to take initiative, grow your skills, build confidence, and take on additional responsibility. Relate specific anecdotes in this way as well.
  1. Prepare for Gaps
Midlife career changers invariably have some gaps in their resume. Realistically recognize these before meeting with potential employers so you can prepare to handle them. Are you missing a degree that many other applicants will have? Have a concrete plan to make up for that gap in the near future. Don’t have work history in your field? Substitute volunteer work in that field or prepare a few samples pieces to show your potential. Be specific about ways that your experience or existing education will help you be prepared for new challenges. Are you changing from a corporate career to teaching, for instance? Perhaps you want to discuss how your real-world experience will benefit students and ways that you’ve enjoyed inspiring or mentoring others. The idea is to show that you have enough building blocks to hit the ground running.
  1. Learn About the Culture
New fields usually equal a new culture. Enthusiasm and initiative can make up for a lack in other areas — particularly in a job market with fewer applicants. Research the new company and consider how you can add value to it. In addition to each specific company’s culture, think about the field in a broader sense. Why are you getting into this field? Does it tend toward creativity or independence? Then think of some anecdotes for the interview that show your creative thinking in past situations. Is the field more group-oriented? Then prepare an example of how you work in diverse or challenging groups. Interviews in a new career field require a little creative planning. But it’s a jumping-off point for a whole new world of fulfilling and exciting work. Start your journey today by meeting with the employment experts at BIRK Staffing & Technical Services. For more than 20 years, we have helped people in all fields and positions to find a great new chapter in their work life. We can help you too. Call us today to get started.

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