How to Explain a Career Change in an Interview
With three years recently deemed the maximum length of time anyone should stay in one job, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself if you’re looking to switch careers. In fact, recent statistics reveal that a massive 47% of the UK work force would like to make a career change. Furthermore, 23% of all UK workers regret their current career choice which is a great shame since we spend around 1,842 hours a year at work.
If you’re one to bite the bullet and follow the career path you’ve always wanted, here’s how to explain your career change in an interview and sell yourself as a great prospect.
No dwelling allowed
First thing’s first, you need to make sure you’re oozing confidence when you step into that interview, ready to showcase your can-do attitude. As a result, you need to make sure you refrain from dwelling on your departure from your most recent career path and worrying about your lack of experience regarding your next move.
Instead, show the interviewer that you’re ready to dive straight into your new career rather than reluctantly be pushed out of your last. Read on to find out how…
Sell your soft skills
The best way to show you’re the right person for the job when changing careers is by selling your soft skills to the interviewer. These are the skills that every professional needs as they’re required in every role. And the good news is that you’ve probably picked them up without even realising.
Some soft skills you might choose to showcase include communication, problem solving, teamwork and leadership. If you really want to impress, go through the job description prior to interview and identify the soft skills required for the role – these are the soft skills you should reference with example of their use as it’ll show you’re a great match.
Identify underlying themes
While you might have soft skills, it’s likely you have very few hard, specialist skills that directly relate to your new career. This is nothing to worry about as very few candidates meet every single criterion on a job spec. To prove you’re a good fit for this new career then, you need to identify underlying themes between your previous and current career options.
When carrying out your interview preparation, go through the job description and highlight the skills and interests required. Then, try and relate the requirements to any experiences or interests you have.
For example, if you’re looking to move into a marketing role that involves managing advertising budget, and you have experience as an engineer working with product budget, this is what you should shout about as you’ve identified a match for management, budget control and attention to detail.
Remember, you don’t just have to find links in your employment or education history; you may find underlying themes within your hobbies, interests and home life, too.
Showcase your professional network
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, right? One of the biggest selling points you can bring to the table if you’re interviewing for a career change is your professional network.
If you’ve got some relevant names to hand, it could make it easier to do business in this new role and your prospective employers will recognise this huge benefit. As a result, your strong network may be the key reason to hire you – after all, your network of contacts is something unique to your repertoire, so employers won’t get to tap into that valuable network without you.
Prove you’re adaptable
Ultimately, when explaining your career change in an interview, you need to prove that you’re more adaptable than a chameleon sitting on a rainbow because it’s a brand new move. Make sure you come prepared with examples of previous transitions to show the interviewer. To really impress, ensure you highlight the successes and challenges with each move to prove your adaptability.
If you’re about to embark on a career change, follow these steps to explaining your new move in an interview and you’ll show why you’re the best person for the job and give your working life the kick start it needs.
About the author: Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages where you will find CareerBalance’s article: Seven Tips for Finding a New Job in Your Fifties: https://www.cv-library.co.uk/career-advice/development/7-tips-finding-new-job-50s/