How to Switch Careers With the Help of an Outplacement Service

· by Julie Blackmon

Julie is one of our Career Transition Coaches in our Outplacement group. She brings over 10 years of recruiting experience to her role. Julie has been with HTI since 2011.
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How to Switch Careers with the Help of an Outplacement Service

In our outplacement services, it’s interesting to see how many people start off thinking “Gosh, it would be nice to not do engineering/procurement/accounting, but I just don’t know how to do that”. It’s one of the more unique challenges we see in the outplacement world, but, luckily, switching careers is something we have a good bit of experience in.

First – set your priorities.

This is the really hard work that no one can do but you. Only you can look inside yourself and identify what types of things interest you, what challenges you enjoy and what types of environments you thrive in. You will also need to do a good bit of work on your budget to determine where you need to be for a new position to be a fit for you and your family.

    • Career assessments, like the KUDAR or other similar tests, might be able to help you narrow down some specific fields that you might need to research.

Write a KILLER resume and cover letter.

Ok – So you have a target position, or maybe a few. Now, you must write a resume that speaks to that new position. Think about what skills you use in your current position that would easily translate into your desired field. This important step is key to a successful career transition. Here’s an example –

    • Example – An elementary teacher wants to move into HR. Those are two very different fields, but let’s look at translatable skills. In teaching, you are constantly working with different groups of people (students, parents, administrators) to achieve goals (increasing reading levels, standardized testing metrics, etc.). A teacher has to work through conflict, which is a great ‘soft’ skill necessary for HR. Focus on putting those excellent skills up at the top of the bullet points under teaching, as well as being sure to weave those into an objective or professional summary at the top of your resume.
    • Let’s talk cover letters. In most cases, I advise against them, because as a recruiter, I don’t typically read cover letters. But, there are always a few exceptions to the rule, and switching career fields is one of those. A cover letter is the place to help a potential new employer connect the dots between your old field and the field you desire.

Leverage your connections.

This is where the rubber meets the road. A lot of times, a company doesn’t want to take a chance on an unproven person switching career fields. However, a referral from someone within the company or an introduction from someone outside of the company can help that company think outside the box for filling their job. Here at HTI, we love to look for unique opportunities to make introductions and connections to help our outplacement participants thrive.

Switching careers is never easy, and there will always be some tradeoffs, but hopefully this gives you some direction on your new direction.