5 Things You Need to Do to Get a Job in a Different Field

If you want to switch fields there are some things to do to be successful. | iStock.com

It can be scary trying to get a job outside of your field. Finding a job at all can be a challenge in a competitive market, but branching out can be particularly difficult. Perhaps you are tired of doing the same thing each day and you want to try something new. In other cases, you might feel like you have moved up as far as you can in your own field, and you want to find a job with opportunities for promotion. Or, you hate your boss but you can’t find any jobs in your field that are outside of your company. Whatever your reasons are for wanting to try something new, it will be necessary for you to have the right skills and to market yourself appropriately in order to get the new job you want. Here are five ways to prepare for success.

1. Volunteer

If you have to leave your current job immediately, then you may not be able to start a volunteer position before looking for a new job. However, if you have the time, and you want to adequately prepare yourself for a new career in a field that you are not currently working in, then volunteering is a great way to start. A volunteer position related to the field you want can teach you valuable skills, and it also can help improve your resume. Volunteering will show that you are interested in your field, and may also give you some experience (even if it’s limited) that will help you get a different job.
According to Quintessential Careers, volunteering allows you to make a difference, but also advance your career. If you can get a volunteer position in a company you would want to work for, you may also hear about new jobs before outside candidates.

2. Know the right people

close up of abstract network molecules
Network. | iStock.com

Volunteering is also a great way to network with contacts who can potentially get you a job. An opening may come up in the organization, and if you’ve been a dedicated volunteer, you won’t need to prove yourself in the same way external candidates might. Even if an opening doesn’t come around, you can meet people in the field who can help you improve your skills, network with other people in the field, and potentially, help you secure a new job.
Attending a conference is another great way to meet potential contacts. According to Salary.com, it’s ideal to stay at the hotel that the conference is held, be sure to build a relationship with key contacts before handing out your business card, and arrive early to events and meetings.

3. Get certified

young student reading book between the shelves
Hit the books and get certified. | iStock.com/anyaberkut

If your new job field requires specific certifications, you will still need to get those even if you network with all the right people. Even if you don’t need a specific certification, you still may need to learn specific skills ahead of time, and volunteering may not be possible depending on the field. There are many jobs that pay well and don’t require a bachelor’s degree; even if you already have your degree, it may not translate into the job you want. Most of us don’t have the time to go back to school once we’ve held a career for a while, so finding a job that pays well and doesn’t require a degree is ideal. According to MarketWatch, postmasters and mail superintendents, transportation inspectors, and detectives and criminal inspectors are just a few jobs that pay well and don’t require a college degree.

4. Prime your resume

Source: iStock
Revamp your resume. | iStock.com

A resume is always important when applying for a job, but because you are applying for a job outside of your current job field, you really need to market yourself. Your best bet is to create a resume that is tailored to the new field. If you have the practice of sending out the same resume for each job you apply for, you need to change that habit. When applying for a job in a different field, it’s very important that you create a resume that highlights your ability to complete the job functions.
According to Chron, be sure to research the industry, and the company, before you apply; it’s also a good idea to state that you are wanting to change careers in the objective section. You can also add a section that includes your qualifications, and try to figure out which skills you can transfer to the new field. In addition, you should highlight relevant achievements or work experience rather than listing jobs that are not relevant.

5. Prove yourself at the interview

cat wearing a tie
Prepare for job interview before walking out that door. | Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

You never know what exactly will get you in the door for an interview. Your skills certainly play a big part, but some hiring managers may just be curious why exactly you are changing careers. Regardless of their reasoning, once you secure the interview, your job is to wow the interviewer. You will probably be competing against people who have more experience in the field, so you really need to shine.
According to Quintessential Careers, if you are asked why the company should hire you, that is your chance to really sell yourself. You should have an answer that sets you apart from (and above) other candidates. This is particularly true when interviewing for a job in a new field. Explain why you want to work at the company, and of course, why you are changing fields. Then if you can, make sure to sell the skills you do have, especially if some of your skills will really help in the particular job.
It can be tricky to switch careers, especially if you are trying out a new field. If you can follow these five tips, you will be ready to start your job search.