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Finding Diamonds in Your Past

Finding Diamonds in Your Past

Finding Diamonds in Your Past

    “Been there, done that” has become synonymous with boredom or lack of challenge for some people. For others it is a mini retirement statement. We think it can represent a great place to look for new opportunities.

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    Maybe you or someone you know has made money in one area then gone on to try something a new area and ended up with lousy results. A bit like Michael Jordan once having left the NBA to play baseball.

    Google keeps trying to find other ways to make money besides its simple service of providing text ads that are responsive to search terms input by users. In 2007, contextual ads still generated 99% of the company’s $16.5 billion revenue. Google keeps trying a bunch of other things but most don’t work and those that do don’t become big cash generators. But they keep trying, or at least buying, new things.

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    Most successful business people take an idea that is good in one industry and do it again – often in that same industry. The best ones do it again and again and again. They don’t automatically abandon a successful business and head off in other directions. They might try new things like Google does but they don’t abandon the stuff that is already working.

    The core message here is the value of reflection to find those things in your past that have worked for you. Do them again. But there is a disconnect. Why aren’t we automatically doing this? Why isn’t it as obvious as it seems? We do we often move away from things that are working? At least part of the answer lies in finding new excitement in the “been there, done that.” Here are some reasons for repeating things that have worked for you in the past:

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    1. Tried and true. No need to speculate whether or not it will work for you if it already has.
    2. You have the people. They are excited about the last thing you did and the success that was achieved there.
    3. Relearning is relatively easy. You already have the skills and it is usually much easier to improve upon them than to start from scratch.
    4. You have the pieces. Chances are that if you were to restart a business today that you last operated 5 or 10 years ago, you would quickly be able to put together the technical aspects, marketing materials and begin calling on customers. If you were to write a second book in an area you have already published in, it would be similarly easier.
    5. Credibility. You have a proven track record in the area so don’t need to work as hard on establishing credentials as for the first time.
    6. Visualization. No need to work yourself into a lather establishing what success in the area will look like if you have already been there.
    7. The test of time. If your past business was for manufacturing a plastic product used in exterior applications, it would be nice to be able to point out examples to show the product didn’t shrivel up or turn to dust. For something less technical like say a past workout or diet program that kept you in great shape, there are likely others around who were on it with great results.
    8. You know the downsides. Being able to avoid the pitfalls and knowing where the risks are from your past experience makes it easier to move forward on solid ground.

    The Coca-Cola Company is a great example of repeating past successes. They didn’t really plan it that way. They tried a new taste in 1985 and after offending numerous old coke drinkers, were forced to reintroduce the older version under the “Classic” name. The company is still number one in the world at what it does. They have been basically producing the same stuff for almost a hundred years – repeating it 1.5 billion times per day.

    You might not have the Coke formula in the back of an old drawer but that doesn’t mean you won’t have something in there you could put to great use again. Take some time to reflect on your past successes and bring something forward from your past. Michael Jordan gave up on the baseball after one failed season and rejoined the NBA.

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    Last Updated on April 25, 2019

    How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

    How to Write a Career Change Resume (With Examples)

    Shifting careers, tiny or big, can be paralyzing. Whether your desire for a career change is self-driven or involuntary, you can manage the panic and fear by understanding ‘why’ you are making the change.

    Your ability to clearly and confidently articulate your transferable skills makes it easier for employers to understand how you are best suited for the job or industry.

    A well written career change resume that shows you have read the job description and markets your transferable skills can increase your success for a career change.

    3 Steps to Prepare Your Mind Before Working on the Resume

    Step 1: Know Your ‘Why’

    Career changes can be an unnerving experience. However, you can lessen the stress by making informed decisions through research.

    One of the best ways to do this is by conducting informational interviews.[1] Invest time to gather information from diverse sources. Speaking to people in the career or industry that you’re pursuing will help you get clarity and check your assumptions.

    Here are some questions to help you get clear on your career change:

    • What’s your ideal work environment?
    • What’s most important to you right now?
    • What type of people do you like to work with?
    • What are the work skills that you enjoy doing the most?
    • What do you like to do so much that you lose track of time?
    • Whose career inspires you? What is it about his/her career that you admire?
    • What do you dislike about your current role and work environment?

    Step 2: Get Clear on What Your Transferable Skills Are[2]

    The data gathered from your research and informational interviews will give you a clear picture of the career change that you want. There will likely be a gap between your current experience and the experience required for your desired job. This is your chance to tell your personal story and make it easy for recruiters to understand the logic behind your career change.

    Make a list and describe your existing skills and experience. Ask yourself:

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    What experience do you have that is relevant to the new job or industry?

    Include any experience e.g., work, community, volunteer, or helping a neighbour. The key here is ANY relevant experience. Don’t be afraid to list any tasks that may seem minor to you right now. Remember this is about showcasing the fact that you have experience in the new area of work.

    What will the hiring manager care about and how can you demonstrate this?

    Based on your research you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be doing in the new job or industry. Be specific and show how your existing experience and skills make you the best candidate for the job. Hiring managers will likely scan your resume in less than 7 seconds. Make it easy for them to see the connection between your skills and the skills that are needed.

    Clearly identifying your transferable skills and explaining the rationale for your career change shows the employer that you are making a serious and informed decision about your transition.

    Step 3: Read the Job Posting

    Each job application will be different even if they are for similar roles. Companies use different language to describe how they conduct business. For example, some companies use words like ‘systems’ while other companies use ‘processes’.

    When you review the job description, pay attention to the sections that describe WHAT you’ll be doing and the qualifications/skills. Take note of the type of language and words that the employer uses. You’ll want to use similar language in your resume to show that your experience meets their needs.

    5 Key Sections on Your Career Change Resume (Example)

    The content of the examples presented below are tailored for a high school educator who wants to change careers to become a client engagement manager, however, you can easily use the same structure for your career change resume.

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    Don’t forget to write a well crafted cover letter for your career change to match your updated resume. Your career change cover letter will provide the context and personal story that you’re not able to show in a resume.

    1. Contact Information and Header

    Create your own letterhead that includes your contact information. Remember to hyperlink your email and LinkedIn profile. Again, make it easy for the recruiter to contact you and learn more about you.

    Example:

    Jill Young

    Toronto, ON | [email protected] | 416.222.2222 | LinkedIn Profile

    2. Qualification Highlights or Summary

    This is the first section that recruiters will see to determine if you meet the qualifications for the job. Use the language from the job posting combined with your transferable skills to show that you are qualified for the role.

    Keep this section concise and use 3 to 4 bullets. Be specific and focus on the qualifications needed for the specific job that you’re applying to. This section should be tailored for each job application. What makes you qualified for the role?

    Example:

    Qualifications Summary

    • Experienced managing multiple stakeholder interests by building a strong network of relationships to support a variety of programs
    • Experienced at resolving problems in a timely and diplomatic manner
    • Ability to work with diverse groups and ensure collaboration while meeting tight timelines

    3. Work Experience

    Only present experiences that are relevant to the job posting. Focus on your specific transferable skills and how they apply to the new role.

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    How this section is structured will depend on your experience and the type of career change you are making.

    For example, if you are changing industries you may want to list your roles before the company name. However, if you want to highlight some of the big companies you’ve worked with then you may want to list the company name first. Just make sure that you are consistent throughout your resume.

    Be clear and concise. Use 1 to 4 bullets to highlight your relevant work experiences for each job you list on your resume. Ensure that the information demonstrates your qualifications for the new job. Remember to align all the dates on your resume to the right margin.

    Example:

    Work Experience

    Theater Production Manager 2018 – present

    YourLocalTheater

    • Collaborated with diverse groups of people to ensure a successful production while meeting tight timelines

    4. Education

    List your formal education in this section. For example, the name of the degrees you received and the school who issued it. To eliminate biases, I would recommend removing the year you graduated.

    Example:

    Education

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    • Bachelor of Education, University of Western Ontario
    • Bachelor of Theater Studies with Honors, University of British Columbia

    5. Other Activities or Interests

    When you took an inventory of your transferable skills, what experiences were relevant to your new career path (that may not fit in the other resume sections?).

    Example:

    Other Activities

    • Mentor, Pathways to Education
    • Volunteer lead for coordinating all community festival vendors

    Bonus Tips

    Remember these core resume tips to help you effectively showcase your transferable skills:

    • CAR (Context Action Result) method. Remember that each bullet on your resume needs to state the situation, the action you took and the result of your experience.
    • Font. Use modern Sans Serif fonts like Tahoma, Verdana, or Arial.
    • White space. Ensure that there is enough white space on your resume by adjusting your margins to a minimum of 1.5 cm. Your resume should be no more than two pages long.
    • Tailor your resume for each job posting. Pay attention to the language and key words used on the job posting and adjust your resume accordingly. Make the application process easy on yourself by creating your own resume template. Highlight sections that you need to tailor for each job application.
    • Get someone else to review your resume. Ideally you’d want to have someone with industry or hiring experience to provide you with insights to hone your resume. However, you also want to have someone proofread your resume for grammar and spelling errors.

    The Bottom Line

    It’s essential that you know why you want to change careers. Setting this foundation not only helps you with your resume, but can also help you to change your cover letter, adjust your LinkedIn profile, network during your job search, and during interviews.

    Ensure that all the content on your resume is relevant for the specific job you’re applying to.

    Remember to focus on the job posting and your transferable skills. You have a wealth of experience to draw from – don’t discount any of it! It’s time to showcase and brand yourself in the direction you’re moving towards!

    More Resources to Help You Change Career Swiftly

    Featured photo credit: Parker Byrd via unsplash.com

    Reference

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