The Three-Step Strategy to a New Career That Works Every Time
I admire those people who know exactly what it is they want to do in life. You know, the ones who are nine years old and have this blinding realization that this is what they want to do in life. And then they set out to study, work, and climb their way to their dream job.
For the rest of us though, it’s not so simple. How many of us at 18 really knew what to do with our careers? Years later you find yourself in a job that’s not really you. Or after having kids, life changes and so do your career goals.
Having my daughter was the reason I become a freelance museum curator and writer. I hated my old job with a passion so deep it’s hard to put into words. Plus, I really wanted to find a way to work with more creativity and flexibility.
I wanted a job that said “yes” to the world not “no” all the time.
But it wasn’t my first career change. I started out as a high school teacher, then worked in museum education. Then I became a project manager before what I do now. Being a curator became my business.
For each change, I started in junior to mid-level positions, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. I was well paid. I just wasn’t the boss, which is fine with me. Then over time, I had opportunities to take on better projects or be promoted.
This was the same with my business. I leveraged my past experience and started with small projects I could manage with looking after my daughter. Then as I gained more time as my child grew and more professional experience, I took on bigger projects.
Changing careers isn’t simple. Sometimes you get lucky and you’re in the right place at the right time. Other times you need a strategy to get you there. This is what I did to change careers. It worked for me every time.
Here are my three steps to developing a career change strategy that works.

The Three-Step Strategy to a New Career That Works Every Time

1. Focus On Your Actual Skills, Not Qualifications

Qualifications help you get a job when you’re 23, but not so much when you’re 33 or 43. By the time you’ve worked for five years, employers are more interested in what you’ve done at work and what skills you bring.
For sideways moves, you need to sell how your experience and skills are directly relevant. Concentrate on the transferrable skills you have from past work and study.
However, there are still some jobs you just aren’t going to get without the qualifications, and for good reason. If you really want it, work out the most cost and time effective way to get that qualification.

2. Make Targeted Connections (Network With The Right People)

Networking didn’t do anything for my career transitions but making direct connections with the right people did.
A lot of networking events are just too broad. Put 150 people in a room and the chance of finding someone who needs what you offer is pretty slim. It’s the same with Facebook and LinkedIn. Yes, there are two billion users on Facebook, but where are the small percentage who actually need what you offer?
Direct connections with the right people in the right places worked very well for me. I moved from teaching into museum education by taking an unpaid internship. Later, I took an entry-level job to get into project management.
[RELATED: The One Thing I Did (Repeatedly) To Change Jobs]

3. Target Your Resume For Each Job

You will have to join the dots for people. A lot of people just don’t know much outside their professional area of expertise. If you are moving into a new field, you will have to educate them on why they need you. Be clear about the skills you have that make you perfect for the job.
This means that your application and resume must be directly targeted at that job. A generic resume just won’t cut it. And you must look for ways to stand out from the pack – go above and beyond the average to stand out.

Hi, I'm Anna!

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