Executives face unique challenges and obstacles when attempting to make a career transition to a new role or industry, but there are steps you can take to get your foot in the door. Preparing yourself to change executive jobs requires in-depth research, thoughtful insight into your skills, expertise and value/unique differentiators.
Once the foundation is set, you need to develop a strategic job search plan that combines rebranding yourself with proactive networking in your target market for information, as well as insight that may help you get your foot in the door ultimately leading to opportunities.
To get started, research and gather information on your career target. To research companies in your target industry, Hoovers.com has information on thousands of companies. Vault.com also provides insight on companies, as well as employee reviews where you can glean some information about the company culture. LinkedIn is also a resource to learn about companies, their employees, and the latest company news, as well as to research profiles and skills of people within your target company or role. You can also use Facebook and Twitter.
Once your research is completed, you will know how to position yourself for those opportunities. It is critical that your first impression on paper, online, or in-person quickly showcases the value you bring. Be clear about your brand and define your value proposition based on what you’ve learned about your target industry or role. It is very important to know your strengths, your leadership skills, management capabilities, transferable skills, and any relevant industry knowledge. Where do your greatest talents lie related to the new industry or target job?
When creating a career-changing resume, you want to avoid appearing mismatched for the position. Revamp your resume to focus your role descriptions and particularly your achievements on items relevant to your career target. The research you’ve completed has provided you with valuable keywords, industry jargon and relevant language you can weave into your resume in the profile and position descriptions.
Remember, resumes are becoming more and more concise, and your new resume should highlight specific achievements and qualifications to demonstrate your match for the job. You may also want to consider utilizing a hybrid resume. Hybrid resumes allow executives to point out career achievements from relevant positions in the top portion of the resume, providing the reader with a quick reference of relevant key accomplishments.
Regardless of the format you choose, do not include information either from your present or past experience that is irrelevant or not applicable. Along with your resume, you can put together a brief value proposition letter, which concisely why you should be hired and describes a few quantifiable results.
Once you’ve completed your resume, update your LinkedIn profile for message consistency (don’t copy your resume verbatim). If you are currently unemployed, you can explain your ideal next role in your job summary and showcase the reasons you are a perfect fit for this next role. Also develop a brief self-introduction that highlights related skills and achievements that you can use when speaking with potential employers or industry contacts.
Once you’ve completed your newly branded documents and pitch, you are ready to start the networking phase of your job search. As a career changer, your key to success will be to set up information and referral conversations. Identify key industry leaders you want to meet and build your network. Join professional and industry-related associations, alumni groups, and Chamber of Commerce committees. LinkedIn is a good place to start online. Be creative. If you volunteer with a not-for-profit, be sure to introduce yourself to board members who might have contacts. If you have a friend in your target field, reach out for advice and referrals.
Throughout your job search, it’s important to keep learning about your target industry or role. Set up Google alerts to receive information on your target industry and employers. Subscribe to industry-specific publications, join relevant professional groups on LinkedIn and continue researching your target industry. A company will hire you to join their team because you will make a significant contribution. Your ability to communicate effectively your talent, your knowledge, and your self-awareness will convince them you are the right person for the role.