You have been searching for a job for a while when suddenly one day you see a job that you have always wanted to try. It has been your dream job for years, but for some reason you never pursued it. The problem is, you have no work experience to get this new dream job.
You can choose to give up or you can follow the recommendations shared below. It is true that you have no industry or work experience in this new dream job, today. But just like the career you now wish to leave, it takes time and commitment to learn new skills.
After all, you are coming into this new industry with no experience, competing against those who spent their careers in it.
Knowing you have work to do is just the beginning
Unfortunately, many people are conditioned to believe that “because they do not know something now” they will never be able to learn it. With the changing times and technology in today’s job market, it has become important for people to keep learning new skills, regardless of age or experience level.
If you look at a dream job description and read something that makes you think, “I do not know how to do that”, you are discovering that you have something to learn. Go and take necessary classes to learn it before you apply for the job.
Not only will you be happier that you did, but you will also get a liberating feeling that you are slowly escaping your old career, one class at a time. You may not be competitive today. But you are certainly on your way.
Take a full inventory of everything you know how to do
Skills never go to waste. Usually, people just fall out of practice and need to refresh their memory. Before thinking everything in your old career was a waste of time, take a full inventory of everything you know how to do. Here are some examples of how to take inventory using these steps and questions below:
1. What technology do I use every day for both work and entertainment
- We all use devices for something in this day and age. And such devices are used for work, too. Go through what you know how to do.
2. Take inventory of things that others have said about you in the past
- What do my supervisors, friends, and co-workers say about my personality?
- Why do they enjoy working with me?
3. Take inventory of achievements in your previous career
- How did I succeed in my previous career?
- What licenses, degrees, and certifications have I worked towards?
- How have I contributed to companies in the past?
All of the above may turn out to be a very long list. Yet, the longer the inventory list, the better. All skills and achievements earned throughout your career will somehow help you in the future. You may not know how yet, but they will.
Understand what the top performers in your dream industry actually do
The easiest way to get started doing this is to take courses held by business leaders in your desired industry. You need to discover exactly what is required for you to pursue your dream career and then spend day after day in this dream career.
You are going to find out important things like the following:
- What the day to day work requires
- The people in the profession
- Length of workday
- Time commitment required to succeed
- If this dream profession is one you should do long-term or short-term
On your journey of discovering “what is really required”, you may find out that you simply do not like the work. When you apply for work in a new industry with no experience, you also have to display your understanding of the industry. In doing so, you may have companies overlook your lack of experience and see you as a person they can train.
Highlight key relevant traits on your resume
Take your inventory list and start to draw parallels between your newly desired career and your old one. For example, if you were once a lawyer and now wish to apply for an executive job, your intuition and presentation skills will serve you in both positions.
There are always common threads between industries that serve a person. For example, a Military Police Officer who leaves the US Army and becomes a high school principal, or an Executive VP at an investment firm who decides to become a CPA. Many skills you have may need tweaking, but they just might be transferable.
Never dismiss those unspoken skills. Just because they do not directly apply for the job at hand, does not make them useless. These are things like personality traits and interpersonal or entertainment and athletic skills. These are the types of skills that may serve a person when least expected.
When you are missing key skills
Focus on plugging up all the holes in your resume. There’s a big difference between, “I don’t have a degree in the desired field” vs. “It says Advanced Mathematics Degree required.” If you know you need an advanced degree, this will be more time to invest in your career change.
When you have plugged up holes in your resume for the dream job you want, you will find applying to jobs in a new field to be like starting over. You may take some ground-floor positions, but it will certainly be worth it.
You may even find yourself many steps ahead of those who in your dream career who claim to have experience. Everyone loves a fresh and new appreciative face on the block who truly wants to be in a career and does not feel like it is owed to them because of previous experiences.