Everyone has been there to some extent: absolutely exhausted and frustrated with your duties, responsibilities, colleagues, boss, and job field overall. Everyone knows the feeling. However, if your feeling has lasted for a prolonged amount of time, maybe it is time to consider making a 180 turn and changing your career field.
“What? At my age? With no prior experience? How could I? No, there’s no way,” – you might be thinking to yourself right now. Well, stop immediately! Don’t let yourself get down! I dare you to go to LinkedIn right now. Surf through various users and notice how much people change their careers (and with a lot of success, might I add).
Here are some common misconceptions about changing industries addressed:
- Degree? Puff. Okay, I guess! What employers really want to see in the candidates is proof. Proof that the potential employee actually can perform the duties assigned to them.
- No need to spend away your savings too! There are many free(ish) ways of boosting your career change, and we will discuss them further down the article.
- An extensive alumnus network is not necessary. You can create a network of contacts only by going through various industry-related employment and working in the field.
Nonetheless, there are many points that need attention when considering and realizing a professional turn. So, without further ado, here’s how to switch careers without experience.
Starting Points of a Career Change
Before you overexcite and quit your day job, I urge to seriously consider your personal situation and think whether you really want to change your career. Many times, we find ourselves disappointed in our jobs and feeling betrayed by our expectations, but there is always an option that the place of work rather than the job field itself is horrible.
After the Consideration
Having figured out that the transition into another field is unavoidable, the next step is to grasp and narrow down your own wishes and desires. Try asking yourself the following questions:
- What field interests you?
- What kind of company culture do you prefer?
- What is more important for you, salary or the enjoyment received from the work?
- What pay would suit your average expenses?
- What salary would satisfy you?
- What type of work would make you happy and encourage you to give your all?
You can think up other questions that would help you in choosing your next job. Knowing exactly what you want will help you to set goals and milestones for yourself.
Research, Research, Research!
Have you figured yourself out? Great! Now, it’s time to start acting in addition to contemplating. Now, it’s time for research. Starting a career anew is not a walk in the park and can lead to some very undesirable consequences, if not approached correctly.
I am almost certain you don’t want to be out of a job, with no money whatsoever, begging for your previous boss to take you back in. So, I urge you to take some time to research the field you have chosen. Pay close attention to what employers usually value regarding your chosen job. This is a crucial step, and a simple input “how to get a job in a different field” into the Google search engine will not do.
HRs to the Rescue!
Starting a new career with no experience is relatively easy: hundreds of thousands of student do it yearly. Starting a new career with no relevant knowledge, however, is an entirely different story.
So, knowledge and information rule the world, and it is quite obvious that one has to have the relevant knowledge to perform a specific job but…what exactly do you need to know?
Ah-HA. This problem can be solved very easily, even without having to talk to a specialist on the matter. Here is where all of those job descriptions come in handy. Job advertisements are basically resumes reversed. All you need to do is to interpret them correctly! To not have to jump from one job field to another, we’re going to try and infiltrate the IT field. More precisely, we’re getting into IT field as a Front-End Developer. Here’s a typical job posting for this position taken from Indeed:
Looking to get your foot in the agency door and build up a dope portfolio? Think you’re ready to handle projects and have creative decision making power?
Can you work closely with designers and other developers to bring a creative vision to life, on that interactive hotness? Are you passionate about the web and respectful of deadlines and hard work?
Then we need to talk little buddy.
We’re looking for a jr to a mid-level front-end developer to help us create immersive, best-in-show web products. We’ll give you a space to get great at your craft while working on cool projects with an amazing crew of people.
If that sounds like you, hit us up! Make sure to send a portfolio demonstrating some of your work and don’t forget that Github profile.
Skills We’re Looking For
- HTML5 / SCSS / JS
- Appreciation for UI / UX
- Mobile-first responsive design
- Experience integrating JSON data sources and APIs
- Experience with front-end build tools like Grunt/Gulp, webpack, CodeKit, etc
- Experience with open-source CMSs like WordPress, Craft, etc
- Background of writing and deploying code, including experience with version control systems such as GIT & Github
- A snazzy-ass portfolio showcasing your fledgling work.
- Working knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite
- Understanding of good Information Architecture
- Willingness to write about web stuff, cool things you’ve figured out, and promotion of your projects
- Ability to thrive in a team environment and behave all human-like
- An appreciation for how to communicate constructively with people from a non-technical background
- Desire to make projects awesome, regardless of your contribution
- Flexibility and an eagerness to learn the latest approaches & emerging best practices
- Ability to express your ideas constructively within a team framework
- Coachable and willing to learn. Also willing to teach.
Other skills that will set you apart:
- Evidence of being active on the interwebs
- A GitHub account with some nifty code nuggets
- Writings about code and stuff you’ve learned along the way
- A Dope Portfolio
- Ability to make designs better
- Appreciation for writing modular, Object-oriented code
- Understanding of team coding & documentation standards
- Solutions driven approach to technical problems
Looking through a couple of such resumes will give all the pointers to what you need to learn and what traits/soft skills you need to amend in yourself. Creating a career change resume is not as scary as seems from the beginning!
Resources for Job Opening Scouting
Here are some great platforms to scrounge for some ideas on what you need to go around getting into another professional field:
And after achieving the needed requirement, you can find an actual job on these sites!
The Most Important Aspect of Changing Careers…
… is acquiring the correct qualifications. So, why wait? Let’s discuss ways to do it!
How About Them Freebies
Thanks to the internet, now, there are many a way of receiving knowledge for absolutely free. That’s a great deal in my book. By the way, about books. There are numerous sites with free educational books uploaded onto them. They got everything: from economy to marketing, to philosophy, to, you guessed it, programming. Here’s a pair:
Another free option is to take up free online courses. These are plentiful, especially in the IT sphere. The following are a great source for beginning front-enders (and not only!):
Free(ish) Options (In Comparison)
Transitioning from free to kind of not, we will find courses here too. “Why would I opt for paid courses when there are free ones? – You might ask. Of course, free courses grant with all of the needed information but structuring your learning process as well as highlighting the most important things lies solely on you. With paid courses, that job is done for you, and all you have to do is concentrate on learning. Here are some highly respectable resources to consider:
Additionally, do not disregard offline courses. Real-life interaction offers better education opportunities than online courses ever could grant. However, offline courses are usually considered less practical because you have to commute in order to reach them.
Another great option is internships. Why are they in the free(ish) category? Although for completing most internships you even get paid, they’re time-consuming just like any full-time job, and nobody is going to pay your rent for you while you’re an intern.
There are a couple of variants, concerning internships. There are externships where you follow masters of the craft and observe their work while inquiring about what they are doing. These are usually very short: weeklong at maximum. There are also internships for almost absolute beginners where you probably won’t get paid, but you will get immense amounts of the base as well as intermediate knowledge. Lastly, there are usual internships that we usually imagine when we think of internships. If you apply, you have to have a solid foundation in your chosen profession and be able to quickly learn intricate skills, because you will be thrown into work right away!
Changing Career Fields? Change Your Connections!
Lastly, I would like to single out one important factor that can be a game-changer when transferring from one field to another. That factor is connections and acquaintances.
Yes, I have specified explicitly that you don’t need any kind of professional alumnus network to change fields, and I am not telling you to go hunting for new business friendships right away. However, I am telling you to stress getting to know the people you meet during your journey to the new field. This can really help you out in the long run.
When you have ended your education or on the verge to do so, and you have decided yourself for a position at a specific company, it is time to infiltrate it. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t put it in such a menacing light, but you do have to try an connect with related people from the company. This will make your chances of getting employed go up because you will stay in people’s memory.
A good practice is to seek out previous employees of the company to ask them about the company’s policies, culture, and hiring process.
Freelance working experience is very valuable, as it simultaneously give you a couple of things:
- notoriety between clients;
- proof of your capabilities;
- opportunities to become more skilled and knowledgeable.
All in all, this way, you will build up a great network of references without any formal experience, so, get to work!
There are many freelance websites that make finding clients incredibly easy:
In the End,…
… you can follow all of the tips described in this blog, and it will boost your endeavor of professional movement. However, you have to burn with this desire, or you will change places, only to end up in the same position.