As important as qualifications and work experience are in finding a job – depending on the field – they’re not always necessarily the be all and end all to achieving your goal.
Tech career expert Jon Carpenter says most people aren’t aware of the transferable skills they possess, or the full extent of what they potentially bring to the table.
In an article penned for The Muse, he says a good starting point to prepare for a career change is by making an extensive list of all your experiences, the skills you possess, the accolades you’ve earned over the course of your career and any awards you may have won.
Think about what the positive attributes your line managers and colleagues have relayed back to you in the past.
“Ask yourself what might my prospective company needs based on its unique situation – [things like] maturity, industry, stated objectives, culture, employee demographics, competitors and even trends – that [you] might be able to provide, even if it’s outside the official job description,” Carpenter advises.
Then start thinking about how you could go the extra mile in fulfilling what the job requires.
“If you can demonstrate a better understanding of the role and company that other candidates, discrepancies in experience will matter less, within reason. I’d rather hire a comparatively less experienced person who really gets it than a more experienced candidate who doesn’t,” he says.
From here, Carpentar says you’ll be able to draw parallels between what you can do and what the company needs and, from there, you’ll able to identify any skill gaps and fill them.
Career advisor Raghav Haran says that proving you can solve a problem will “instantly decommoditise yourself and none of those things on paper matter as much”.
“This is exactly how I’ve gotten interviews and job offers for positions that require Masters degrees, MBAs and degrees in subjects I’ve never studied and more years of experience than I have,” Haran says.
He suggests working on a pre-interview project that defines what the day-to-day job entails and to start working on a project that you can present to the company ahead of an interview and prove to them that you have what it takes to fulfill the requirements of the job.
“People want their problems solved and they’re much more likely to hire someone who’s already working on solving them than someone who might solve them. Try it, it works,” Haran says.
“And if you’re proactive and do a project specifically for a company and they still don’t respond, then what does that say about their culture? Then you know that company is not the one you want to work for. It’s a win-win.”