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UMGC Career Connection How to Change Careers like a Champ

Isa' Martinez, MA
By Isa' Martinez, MA

Making a career change is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Here are seven essential areas you should explore during your career change.

Self-evaluation: Before you change careers, you need to ask yourself some key questions. For example, “Am I sure I want to leave my current industry?”, "What other industries & roles am I interested in?”, or “What transferable skills do I have?”. You do not want to make an impulsive decision and you want to be sure you understand all your options.  

Identify skills: From each current and past role you have gained transferable skills. Transferable skills are skills you acquire during your education, internships, and work experience that you will bring to your next role. Some examples would be communication skills, research skills and leadership skills. The skills you highlight on the resume will depend on the industry you are switching to let the job description be a guide to understand the desired skills for your next role.  

Identify industries & roles: There are several industries and job titles, and it is important you research the options. Understanding your skills, strengths and weaknesses, and interests can help you find a role that aligns with your professional needs.  

Gain experience: Your next opportunity may require additional skills, experience, and credentials. There are several ways you can gain experience such as internships, fellowships, volunteer and freelance work, certifications, trainings, bootcamps and career accelerators.  

Update your resume & LinkedIn: To change careers like a champ, you will need to update your resume and LinkedIn profile. When updating your resume, remember you are creating it for the job you want, not the one you currently have. Use industry jargon and highlight your relevant skills and experience. When updating your LinkedIn profile, remember it provides you with an opportunity to brand yourself for the new industry. Make sure you a have a professional headshot, and a standout headline and about section. Consider asking colleagues for a recommendation and to endorse you for specific skills.  

Network like a champ: Eighty two percent of employees are hired by referrals; this shows the power of networking. It is important that you make connections, reach out to alumni, join student groups, professional organizations and have informational interviews with industry professionals.  

Prepare for industry interviews: Prior to an interview, do your homework and learn about the company and its role. Review the job description and be prepared to demonstrate your experience. Know the jargon of the industry and the technology and tools the industry utilizes.  

Focusing on these key areas will create a roadmap for success during your career change. 

This information and more were covered in the recent webinar,  "How to Change Careers like a Champ".  If you need resume assistance, check out the career services tools, CareerQuest. If you are still finding yourself overwhelmed by the career change process, then the Career Advising Specialists are here to help.  

Isa’ Martinez is a Former Career Advising Specialist in the Office of Career Services at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has over a decade of experience in Higher Education in a student support capacity.  She has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Bowie State University, where she practiced counseling for a year and discovered her passion for career counseling. Isa’ is committed to putting students first, providing career development to students and alumni and believes in the power of an education.