Perhaps you’re at the top of your existing field but are looking for a new challenge. The problem is, you don’t want to start at the bottom and have to work your way up through the ranks. So how do you go about getting the job you want without the essential experience?
It’s likely that you have ambition and great transferable skills, but it can be difficult to compete with candidates who have been doing the job for years or at least have relevant experience. Employers may be reluctant to take a chance on someone who could potentially be a good fit but hasn’t proved this in a comparable workplace. Don’t despair, there are ways round this, but you will need to be prepared to wait, and may have to spend time and money to make up the experience deficit.
- Become an intern or volunteer for work experience. This may seem a little demoralising if you are already established in a career, but you may be able to do some part-time work that allows you to gain experience, tying it in around your core role. You may need to be prepared to cut your hours or take a few weeks off work to do this. If there is a particular company you would like to work for, try to get experience there. It could eventually turn into a permanent role if you play your cards right.
- Use social media to prove your skills. Maybe you could start a blog about something that is relevant to prospective employers. As well as demonstrating your knowledge, it also will also show that you have good communication skills and are passionate about your new field. If writing isn’t your thing, you could create a video series on YouTube or host an industry-related online networking event. Be creative and do whatever you need to do to get noticed without putting potential employers off.
- Take on extra responsibility at work. Perhaps your current role doesn’t offer relevant experience but there are opportunities to fill the gap elsewhere in the company. If you need managerial experience but don’t have it, ask if you can take on new responsibilities as a team leader. If you need to improve your IT or accounting skills, ask if you can shadow someone in the relevant department.
- Take some classes. If you can’t gain the relevant skills or experience any other way, you may need to head back to the classroom. Maybe you need to learn a new language, develop practical skills or are looking for something that offers placements in your chosen industry. It may be possible to work this around your current role, with many further education departments offering evening and weekend courses.
- Be proactive. Perhaps you can see a way to create additional income for your target company. This could be an idea for a new app, an innovative advertising campaign or a logistics plan that will cut costs. Write to the company offering up these suggestions. Even if you don’t have formal experience in the field, showing this kind of initiative could give you a much-needed foot in the door.
Whatever you do, you will need to think outside the box. Talk to people you know who work in your chosen field, network with prospective colleagues and employers, and use social media to your advantage. One way or another, you will soon gain the experience you need.