More and more, employers will find career changer resumes on their desk. But there are risks with career changers, the main one’s being will they adapt and are they in it for the long term? Employers need to be able to distinguish genuine career changers from the more superficial ones who might not make it after the first or second hurdle.
1. They are forthcoming and can justify why this career or industry is right for them. They are able to explain the skills, qualities and experiences that they have that make them suited to this specific position or industry. They are able to provide examples of where they have used these skills before, how long they have had them, how successful they have been using them and how satisfied they were doing this. Their cover letter, resume and interview should all be focused on knowing and exhibiting their skills and linking them to relevant areas of your job and industry.
2. They can explain how they reached their decision to follow this career path. A committed career changer will probably have made a very calculated and informed decision on why they chose this career path and they should be able to explain the process. Traits of a good decision making process could be that they conducted a Career Interest Test to check suitability, consulted a Career Coach, talked it through with a mentor, or maybe they consulted professionals within your business or industry. If they can’t explain their process, there is a chance that they made it on a whim or are under informed.
3. They can explain why they abandoned their current career. You want to know what their level of resolution is and how long they stick with things when they get hard. You want to know if they just abandoned their current career at the first sign there was a problem or did they actually try and make it work first? The most committed career changers will have balanced and considered reasoning for their decision about changing their career.
4. They have ambition, medium/long-term goals and vision. If they are really committed to this new career path, then they are most likely going to have some defined, realistic and informed medium/long-term career goals in terms of position and salary. They should have started on self-directed learning and cross training to supplement their new career and identified future training needs. They will be going in with open eyes and have a detailed and informed idea of the future.
5. They have done the financial planning. Normally a career change also means a reduction in salary in the beginning. Over time, the earning might be higher, lower or the same as before but either way, a genuine career changer will have checked that their new career is going to be economically viable and sustainable. They will have realistic earning projections and can explain how they would handle any shortfall from their earnings they might have received if they had continued on their current career path.
Committed career changers will have a lot to offer to your business. By watching for these signs, you will have the best chance of distinguishing authentic career changers from the more whimsical and less informed.