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Feeling like the day-to-day responsibilities of your job are more draining than fulfilling? If you’re not sure that you want to continue down your current career path, and simply hopping to a similar job at a different company won’t cut it, you might want to consider switching to another industry entirely. Don’t be intimidated by how the labor market has shifted in the past year — if you’re looking to change jobs and step into a new career, there’s never been a better time.
According to survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you’re in luck, because there are 4 million more job openings than unemployed people right now. Specifically, businesses have been adding jobs across a much broader set of industries than usual, making it easier than ever for workers like you to switch careers. Not sure where to start, or how to change your career path? Well, we’ve mostly moved beyond “help wanted” ads in the daily paper, and while attending in-person industry events and mixers can’t hurt, looking for job openings online is the easiest way to do some research about a new career you’re interested in.
It can be overwhelming when you’re trying to look for work and have to parse through dozens of different job websites, each with their own career focus, ease of use, and advanced tools. If you’ve been blindly sending out your resume, and not hearing anything back, it might not be that you aren’t the most qualified — it might mean you need to rebrand yourself (and your resume) to be found by the companies in the industry you want online. Zhuzhing up your online profile will also result in some companies reaching out to you to apply instead of the other way around, such as on sites like ZipRecruiter.
It doesn’t have to be difficult, or expensive, to stand out from the crowd when you’re switching career paths. Know what you’re looking before and do your research before you even start applying, because the site you’ll use when you’re looking to dip your toes into freelance work will be different than if you need a full-time job fast. We’ve rounded up the best tips on how to land a job in a new field, and which sites will help you out the most.
1. Get Specific on Job Search Sites
Outside of your current industry, do an honest self-assessment and narrow down which careers you’d consider going into, and which roles make sense with the professional skills you’ve already acquired over the years. Whether you’re looking into the fastest-growing job fields, higher-paying positions, or remote work, you’re going to want to choose a job search site that will let you get as specific as possible in your search.
ZipRecruiter is our favorite site for finding high-quality jobs online, thanks to a few key functions that help streamline your job-hunting process. Not only can you search by specific keywords and locations, on the employer side of things, ZipRecruiter uses a powerful matching algorithm and AI technology to create instant matches between you and the right companies for what you want to do.
Using information about your skills (such as education, skills, and experience), it can connect you with thousands of businesses online through their browser site, mobile app, and email program. You can also sign up to receive notifications when your resume is viewed, and emails from recruiters if a job listing that matches your profile pops up. ZipRecruiter’s salary search tool also gives you transparency on what employees in similar positions are making based on location and title. The best part? You can sign up and create a ZipRecruiter account for free.
2. Highlight Applicable Skills Over Experience
Taking the skills you already have and applying them to a new industry is going to require reworking your job search materials as a potential hire as well. First, look at your resume — check that you’re using the right format, and highlighting your applicable skills over experience in an established industry. You might want to consider a functional resume format, which emphasizes your hard and soft skills (like leadership, or any certifications you have), and is a great option for entry-level job hunters, or if you’re switching industries. A combination resume is exactly what it sounds like, a mix of functional and chronological experience — great if you think at least some of your work experience to this field, but a balance that’s hard to execute on a single-page resume.
3. Lean into Your Cover Letter
Even if you’re not the most qualified for a role in this new industry, you shouldn’t undersell yourself and highlight your lack of experience in your cover letter. Besides showing that you’ve researched the company you’re applying to, focus on any relevant skills or experience you have, even if they’re only tangentially related.
One way to make sure you stand out is to look at the job description itself — what keywords and attributes highlighted in the requirements do you fulfill? Don’t copy the description verbatim, but make sure to emphasize qualities that they’re looking for in an employee as early in your cover letter as possible. On job boards like ZipRecruiter or Indeed where listings can be send out to thousands of potential applicants and be aggregated across multiple job sites, you want to show what you can bring to the table as a candidate, even if your qualifications don’t 100% match the role.
4. Check Out Freelance or Volunteer Positions
If you want to switch up your career path, but aren’t entirely sure if this new field is right for you without any practical, hands-on experience, consider looking into freelance or volunteer opportunities. This way you can obtain work experience you can add to your resume in your chosen field, without committing to a full-time position. While this won’t work for every industry, and you may not have the free time to test the waters when switching careers, it’s especially useful for creative industries that lend themselves to freelancing, positions that are already looking for short-term contracts.
5. Consider Continuing Your Education
Depending on the industry you’re considering, you may need additional certifications or even an entirely different degree to advance in any new role. If work in the field requires general skills you don’t have, you can always complete a professional development course, seminars, or workshops that will help get you up to speed. For more official degrees or certifications, night classes or online classes are more flexible ways to get that education while you’re in your current industry or transitioning to a new position. Consider searching on sites like ZipRecruiter for entry-level positions that are willing to train you off the bat, or pay for any additional education required — you may be surprised by what you find.
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