My Tips for a Dramatic Career Change: Part 2

This is the continuation of a three-part series. If you’d like to read my first entry, start here

Welcome back! I hope my first set of tips was helpful. Now we’re going to dig into a smaller but more technical bit of the process, learning the skills for your new field and revamping your resume.

Learn, Learn, Learn!

Time to hit the books! Look for courses and books on the subject you want to learn. My tools of choice are LinkedIn and Coursera. However, there are many more MOOCs that exist besides the two. Taking the time to acquire a new skill set will show that you are qualified when the time comes. It will also familiarize you with jargon and methodical approaches that someone in your chosen field would know, which helps when you want to be seen as a professional. Search the job title and variations of it online. Pick a handful of job openings and study the job descriptions. Similar phrases will give you direction on where to start finding what to study. For example, you type in communication specialist, the terms you frequently see are media monitoring, campaign strategy, adobe suite. That is where your curriculum starts. Whether it is hard or soft skills, you will most likely find it in an online course.

Overhaul your resume

Today your resume is obsolete. This is the time to rewrite it from scratch. Think of all the jobs you’ve had in your life so far. That’s a plethora of skills you can use to your advantage. I worked a series of jobs to pay rent. Housekeeper, retail worker, car parts courier, bench technician, armored vehicle specialist, etc. You get the idea. Every job I’ve ever had had something to teach me, whether it was how to deal with disgruntled customers or how to tin wires with solder. It’s valuable. You can go two routes:

  • Only include the positions somewhat relevant to the job you want.
  • Keep what you already have and tweak the language.

By that, I don’t mean lie. I mean, highlight your accomplishments, the numbers you helped produce. For example, As a retail team lead, your team surpassed their monthly quota by 20% under your supervision. Not only that, depending on the job you’re applying for, look for keywords you could add to your resume to pass the dreaded ATS. Keep it if you see the same language on multiple job descriptions for this job title.

This section may take you a while, but it’s the meat getting you where you want to go. In our last lesson, I will share tips on handling job interviews, especially when they don’t go your way.

About: Mikayla Pryor was born and bred in Charleston, SC. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia working for Berlin Rosen on the New York Public Affairs Advocacy team. She is also the Blog Chair for the PRSA National New Pros Committee. Her hobbies include studying aerial hoop, watching anime, and feeding her beagle mix too many treats.