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Leverage Your Experience for Your Next Career Move

CATEGORY: Tips on Entering a New Industry
POSTED: August 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm

You have dutifully kept you career on track by accumulating valuable skills and experience through your past employment and educational opportunities. Now you feel that it’s time to take your career to the next level or even shift directions in your career path. One way to reinforce your candidacy for your next career move is to leverage your previous work experience so that it applies to your target position.

You already know what functional tasks you do on a daily basis. These are your most prominent skills and abilities that qualify you to perform your job responsibilities. But what skills and experiences do you have that add value to your current and future organizations?

How Do You Measure Up to the Competition?

You need to establish a clear idea of your existing skills and experience to determine what valuable skills you have that will transfer to your next job. You can easily accomplish this self assessment by creating a career status report. This report includes a list of the skills that you have built through your previous work experience, schooling, professional development, and even your hobbies.

Creating a career status report will take some effort, but it will help you establish a clear vision of your skills and experience. The prospect of a new job involves adjusting to a new work environment and scaling a learning curve.  A good way to demonstrate your ability to rapidly make the transition is to recall how you came up to speed in your current and previous jobs. What learning resources did you use? Who did you talk with to learn about the company and your work assignments? What questions did you ask or wish that you had asked early on?

When you demonstrate your ability to rapidly learn new processes and technologies, it shows that you know how to be proactive and resourceful in making your way through a transition period.

Build Upon What You’ve Already Accomplished

Once you have created this part of your career status report, you can build a comprehensive list of value-added experiences that will boost your candidacy for your next job. You won’t want to just list the tasks you completed—make it into a useful document by including information about how the task or assignment helped the organization achieve its business objectives.

The following are examples of career status report entries and the type of information to include in each entry:

  • Trained colleagues on a new software tool. Skills included preparing and delivering a training presentation. Also mentored co-workers independently in a way that reduced organizational down-time for training purposes. Eliminated the costs of hiring an outside consultant to facilitate the training.
  • Strategic planning. Strategic planning does not apply only at an organizational level. You complete your own time management and planning efforts each time you begin a new assignment. This boosts your skills in setting up a project completion schedule, planning for contingencies such as interruptions and time away from work, and reporting project milestones.
  • Problem resolution. Very few projects reach completion without experiencing unforeseen issues and delays. What issues have you experienced in the past that will help you avert similar occurrences with future projects? This shows an ability to deal with setbacks while keeping your project moving forward.

These are examples of experiences that are outside of your job description. You always want to leverage your job-related experiences when you change jobs. However, you also want to highlight your experiences that will add value to your new organization.

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