How to Sell Yourself in an Interview When Switching Careers

FAN Editor

If you’ve made the decision to leave your current career in favor of a brand-new one, you’re not alone. More than half of workers are interested in a career change, according to a recent University of Phoenix survey.

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That said, just because you want to switch careers doesn’t mean doing so will be easy. Not only will you need to come to terms with some likely consequences, like taking a pay cut, but you’ll also need to convince the companies you apply to that you’re qualified to work for them despite having come from a completely different industry.

The good news? With the right approach, you can make your interviews more successful, thus increasing your chances of landing the role you’ve been vying for. Here’s how.

1. Show your passion for the field you’re applying to

The longer workers stay in a given career, the more likely they are to eventually succumb to burnout. As an outsider, so to speak, one thing you have in your corner is rookie enthusiasm, so don’t hold it back during the interview process. Talk about why you’re looking to move into the field you’re applying to, and come equipped with specific examples of the things you’re hoping to learn and accomplish. Even if you lack certain skills that are essential to the role you want, your interviewer might come to appreciate your eagerness and energy level, and that could be enough to get your foot in the door.

2. Prove that you’ve done your research

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If experience in your new field is the one thing you clearly lack, the best way to build a case for hiring you anyway is to show how adept you are at overcoming it. One way to accomplish this is to come in for each interview having gone above and beyond on the research front. Not only should you read up on each company you’re meeting with but also on the industry itself. Reference data and stats during your interview so that the person you’re speaking to sees that you’ve studied extensively. If anything, you’ll prove that you’re the type who’s willing to do some homework as needed.

3. Highlight your most translatable skills

Even if your work history itself doesn’t make you a likely candidate to work in a different field, there are certain universal skills that translate across the board. These include, but aren’t limited to, time management, personal organization, and the ability to stay cool under pressure. To increase your chances of getting hired within a completely new industry, be sure to play up these key skills at every possible opportunity while you’re interviewing. For example, if you had to overcome a specific challenge at your last job, find a way to show how you’d be equally capable of persevering in your new role.

Another good bet? Check out Glassdoor’s list of the 50 most common interview questions and figure out how to answer them in advance. These questions are likely to come up no matter where you’re interviewing, so the more you prepare for them, the better your chances of a successful meeting.

If you’re applying for a job as an industry outsider, you have an even greater set of hurdles to jump. The more strategic you are during the interview process, the better your chances of landing an offer and embarking on an exciting new career.

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