How to Ace Job Interviews When Switching Careers

Millions of people change careers every year. Whereas professionals may have once worked for the same company for the majority, if not the entirety, of their careers, nowadays it's not uncommon for men and women to change jobs several times before reaching retirement.

Changing jobs and changing careers are not necessarily the same thing. Professionals mulling a career change will have to consider a host of factors that men and women looking to change jobs may never have to contemplate. Such factors may include returning to school and lifestyle changes designed to make living on less income more feasible.

Professionals changing careers may also need to develop a strategy for handling job interviews. When changing jobs as opposed to careers, professionals can draw attention to their résumés, essentially letting their experience speak for itself. But while experience is often a feather in a job candidate's cap, professionals changing careers may need to focus more on their futures than their pasts when interviewing for a new career.

  • Draw attention to those skills that will apply to your new career. All of your experience and skills likely won't transfer to your new career, but that does not mean you're going in with an empty briefcase. Make a list of your most transferable skills, and develop an interview strategy that highlights those skills and explains how they can be applied in both the near future and over the course of your new career.
  • Use your contacts to your advantage. Even if much of your experience won't transfer to your new career, your professional network might still be valuable to a prospective employer. The longer you have been working the larger your professional network likely is, so highlight those contacts in your interview and illustrate how you can put them to good use should you be hired.
  • Showcase how you have adapted in the past. Much of the business world moves at a breakneck pace. That pace has become even faster thanks to advancements in technology that routinely affect how businesses operate. Even if you have never before changed careers, that does not mean you have not adapted to change. Make a list of the changes your employers have instituted throughout your career, highlighting how you adapted to those changes and benefitted from them in their aftermath.
  • Remain positive throughout the interview. Even if you are changing careers because you're unhappy and/or unfulfilled in your present line of work, avoid badmouthing that industry and your past employers. Doing so will only reflect negatively on you and raise a red flag with prospective employers. Instead, explain your reasons for pursuing a new career path in terms that excite potential employers about your candidate.

The decision to change careers can induce both excitement and anxiety. Maintaining a positive attitude and employing various strategies when interviewing with prospective employers can help make the transition to a new career go smoothly.

- Metro Creative