You’re a teacher. But you have many other passions. Your interests are leading you down another career path. You know you want to make this change. But what do you do when the career change you want doesn’t match with the experience needed to get hired in that field?
Fear not - this guide offers the next steps needed to make the change seamless. Commit to the change, do your research, and start prepping your application materials.
Commit to the Change
You have a big task ahead of you. Any job hunt is full of headaches and stress. This process packs an added punch. You’re going head-to-head with other applicants who have more experience in that field. It won’t be easy, but there is a way.
Start by committing to the change.
The benefit of committing to the change affects many parts of your life. Studies show that regularly performing jobs that are mundane can actually cause depression, leading to obesity, anxiety, and in some cases, diabetes. The job hunt can be stressful at this time, but what will follow is an improvement to your mental health and even prolong your life.
Committing to the change also makes you more confident and productive. You will no longer be in limbo and doubt whether you need to make the change. You commit to the change, and then your productivity levels double. You enjoy the process because you are motivated for the next steps that will come. This helps you learn and grow and seek more opportunities for growth.
The more committed you are, the more your knowledge will improve and the more successful you will be.
Know what you are committing to. Do your research and get up to date with new changes that have occurred in that industry. Talk with people in that field. Your family, friends, and co-workers are a good place to start. Know what the position requires on a daily basis and if it is a good fit for you.
For me, it was a lesson learned the hard way. I was a lecturer at a large university in Hungary. I thought I landed my dream job. Turned out, I was not prepared for the road ahead. The day-to-day reality crept in - lecture after lecture, syllabus after syllabus, grading - it became too much. I was more passionate about writing and researching.
Don’t make the same mistake. Understand what you are in for. Find a mentor in that field and shadow them on the job to see the position unfolds first-hand. Be sure to choose a mentor that really fits with your values and goals. Here are some tips on identifying who would be a good mentor for you:
- Define what type of motivation you need. Ask yourself how you are best motivated. Is it tough love or a soft hand? Choose the more hard-nosed mentor if you want an honest assessment of your skills without any sugar-coating. If it is an emotional journey, then choose a mentor who is more like a guru-type. It all depends on what motivates you to be the best in your career.
- Use your own professional network. It is best to find a mentor that you have a relationship with. It could be a personal or professional relationship. You want a mentor that you can be casual and friendly with. Identify those senior leaders who you have seen grown to be successful in your field.
- Choose the mentor that will best help you accomplish your goals. Close your eyes. Imagine a scene 20 years from now where you are successful in your career. Got it? Now, think of someone who best fits this picture for you that you know. Maybe even the picture itself could be based on this person. Choose that person as your mentor. Let them know that this is where you want to be 20 years from now.
Prep Your Application Materials
You’ve made the leap and you’re committed. How do you tailor your resume and cover letter so that you get an interview?
Don’t shy away from being a non-traditional candidate. Use it as a strength. Highlight that you are applying for the position because you are passionate about it. You’re not using it as a stepping stone, but are committed to the long-term.
The cover letter can set you apart from others. Be cautious about steering too far from the norm in the industry. Do your research and find a professional cover letter template from that field. Translate your skills from teaching into what that position requires. Try saying “excellent communication skills, ability to listen, and demonstrated work ethics”. Much better than pointing to your lack of certain skills.
Finally, be prepared to answer the dreaded question in your interview:
Tell me, why are you applying for a job in a field outside your current career or degree?
Tailor your answers in a certain way. Steer the conversation to emphasize your characteristics: a can-do attitude. You’re an excellent communicator who can inspire, comfort, and build self-esteem. As a non-traditional candidate, these characteristics are your best way to impress.
The process will be long and difficult. It will not happen in one day, one month, maybe even a year. Remember, decision-makers reject the average adult job-seeker 24 times during their job hunt. And that’s the average, even for those who have been in a certain field for some years. Rejection is part of the process. But being committed to the change will result in a happier, more fulfilled you.
Are you looking for a change? Search our job board here.
About the author
Miles Maftean phd is a former teacher and a Career Writer at Zety.