Changing Careers? Don’t Forget To Bring Your Existing Skill Sets With You
Ah, the Great Resignation. If you’re one of the millions of people who have asked what’s next after turning off Slack for the final time, you’re definitely not alone.
With so many employees leaving their 9–5 for TBD, now is absolutely the perfect time to shine a new light on your existing skill set. And while you might not see how your previous role could propel you into something completely different, you may be surprised once you readjust your thinking.
After all, out with the old doesn’t always have to mean in with the new.
As a freelancer, I have continuously sharpened my skills so that they translated to new opportunities, and you can certainly do the same. Here are 3 real-world examples of how I took what I had, repackaged it into something new, and successfully navigated the ever-changing job market.
1. Transcription Into Reporting
For years, I worked as a transcriptionist, but not in the traditional medical sense. Instead, I listened to audio files about myriad topics and created clean transcripts for my customers. This, of course, included making easy-to-read paragraphs, cutting out filler words if the project didn’t call for verbatim, and conducting independent research if I ran into specialized jargon or other topics I didn’t immediately recognize. Plus, I always edited swiftly with a deadline in mind.
While these skills may seem specific for transcription, I was able to use them so that I could hopscotch into reporting when I was ready for a career change.
“How would you excel in this job?”
“Well, my previous training helped me understand the importance of time management, sharpened my editing skills, and allowed me to develop the ability to make editorial choices on the fly, which are all skills that I could use in this position.”
Think about how your existing skill set can be transformed into selling points for the new role you’re trying to obtain. Chances are things that you have mastered thus far can be used during interviews and recruitment if you rework your thinking and reframe your skills as needed.
2. Reporting Into Copywriting And Content Creation
While working as a reporter, I also continued honing my abilities as a content writer and copywriter at one of the largest digital marketing agencies in my state.
Little did I know that these two seemingly disparate roles would have so much crossover.
When you’re writing content or copy, your main job is to focus on the benefits and show your audience why your products/services are the solutions to their current problems.
Let’s say you’re writing for a window treatment dealer, for example. Is your office too bright? Consider using our products that have adjustable fabric vanes so that you can customize the level of radiance. Do you have hard-to-reach windows? Ask us about automation and watch your room transform before your eyes.
Essentially, you’re taking your products and breaking down the features/benefits so that your reader can more clearly see the big picture. You’re also working to instill confidence in your audience while serving as the subject matter expert.
While the actionable steps are quite different to say the least, reporting breaking news also focuses around taking a central idea or story and breaking it down into bite-sized pieces for your reader so that they walk away with a clearer handle of the unfolding events.
So, even though the objectives are worlds apart, the concepts behind the work can sometimes align.
In my case, if I were looking to use my reporting experience to get my foot in the door at a new agency, I would lean into these pillars: I have experience breaking down big ideas into clear and concise pieces, I always showcase the main ideas of a story and could do that for your product line as well, and I know how to convey information in a confident way. Oh, and I have the ability to determine what’s filler and what’s not.
This is something that you can absolutely do yourself as well. If you’re looking to jump careers, consider how your current responsibilities could be useful in your new role. Sometimes readjusting how you sell them to a prospective employer may take a bit of work on the back end, but doing the groundwork can help them see how you’d walk in on day one with a strong, desirable, and unique background.
3. Content Writing Into Storytelling
Whether you’re selling a line of home decor, shirts, or cars, an element of storytelling likely goes into your work. After all, having an arc in your content can gently guide the reader down the page in an easy and graceful manner.
As I continued to propel forward in my career, I worked on sharpening my storytelling abilities across a variety of formats. And, after a while, I realized that it was central to every writing job I entered. Whether it was covering education, pop culture, or true crime, storytelling was always part of the foundation.
The same can be said for you and your path as well.
If you work in a restaurant but want to try your hand at office management, perhaps you could think about how you’re able to work in a team, stay on top of daily needs, and create a comfortable environment for those around you. What about sales into entrepreneurship? Consider your past success when it came to hitting the hard numbers, sharpening your business thinking, and conceptualizing new goals.
With a little creativity and clarity, you can likely find common ground that helps you reach your next step.
Ready for action but not sure where to begin?
As you think about your upcoming career shift, consider writing down your strong suits/skill sets and brainstorming how they could fit the specific responsibilities in your desired role. Looking at actual job listings and seeing how you could effectively pair your abilities with the bulleted items listed by your potential employers could be a useful exercise as well.
Once you’ve done that, contemplate jotting them down and keeping them beside you during a Zoom interview. A quick glance at a Post-It to your left can help you recenter yourself when these types of questions come up.
So, if they ask how you’re goal-oriented, take a quick look at your notes and mention your experience driving sales, hitting traffic requirements, or finishing projects in your current position. If they want someone who can generate topic ideas for an online publication, think back to that time when you wrote ten unique pieces of content at a marketing agency that revolved around a single product and speak about that experience.
Even if your why is different at the moment, your ability may line up more than you think.
This much I know for sure, the job search can be a daunting, and sometimes scary, experience, but taking a deep breath and reevaluating your abilities can make a world of difference not only in your level of confidence going into the search or interview, but also in the end result.
Bring yourself to your table, highlight what has set you apart in the past, and the right employer at the right time will clearly see how the puzzle pieces can line up. Open yourself up to the possibilities. You got this.
To read more of my writing or learn a bit more about what I do, check out my personal website: www.sarahguywriting.com
This story was originally published here.
Sarah Guy is an experienced copywriter and content writer with years of marketing experience. She has published thousands of pieces of content, has had her work appear in Google search results countless times, and has continuously sharpened and developed her craft. In her past life, she worked as a reporter, which has helped her infuse storytelling and research techniques into each piece of SEO-friendly copy she now produces for her clients.