How to nail your transition job search

Nov 29 2006 by Patricia Soldati Print This Article

Let's be honest here. Job hunting is about as enticing as going to the dentist. And for career-changers, it is even worse.

All job searches require you to believe in yourself and to market yourself with energy and credibility. WHat's more, you need to convince the hiring manager that you are an exceptional candidate for the open position.

But career-changers have an additional challenge: How do you convey why you spent 10 or 20 years doing one thing and are now intent on doing another? In other words, what is your 'transition story' -- that makes good sense AND emotionally grabs the hiring manager?

The situation requires you to prepare a story that is rational, succinct, compelling and totally positive. You must be able to share it in a couple of minutes. And, there must be an emotional component that captures the imagination of the interviewer. So here's an easy, three-step format that shows what facts to present and how to incorporate the emotional component.

Step 1: I had a great career…

  • The facts: Spell out your key accomplishments.
  • The emotion: What personal growth did you experience as a result?

Step 2: I'm changing because…

  • The facts: State the values you are honoring.
  • The emotion: Convey why you've always wanted this.

Step 3: The value I bring is...

  • The facts: Spell out your transferable skills.
  • The emotion: I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.
And An Example
A former client, John Taylor, transitioned from business owner of a film production company to university professor in communications. Here's how the model came into play for John:

The Facts The Emotion
Step 1 I had a great career...
  • film/production professional
  • 20 years
  • conceived, wrote, edited, produced documentaries, films & commercials
  • successful business owner
  • long list of awards & recognition
  • wonderful, challenging years
  • learned & grew
  • stretched myself
  • felt great to make such an impact in people's lives
  • Step 2 I'm changing because...
  • with technology, the industry has changed dramatically
  • after 20 years, I'm ready for a new chapter
  • part of me has always been a teacher and mentor
  • Step 3 The value I bring...
  • masterful communicator
  • hands-on, practical perspective to the theory
  • intimate with every aspect of creative development and production
  • prestige of having received the industry's top awards
  • Eager to contribute to a new generation of storytellers
  • I'm ready to do what it takes to be successful in a related field.
  • Road test your story on friends and family and make changes accordingly. Refine it until it sounds natural and personal for you. You can even update the facts in Step 3 to correspond to the specific position for which you are interviewing.

    Maybe best of all, the very process of crafting your story will summarize your unique contributions to the world – and remind you of why you have worked hard to make your transition in the first place.

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    About The Author

    Patricia Soldati
    Patricia Soldati

    Patricia Soldati is a former President & COO of a national finance organization who re-invented her working life in 1998. As a career fulfillment specialist, she helps corporate professionals enhance their working lives – both within the organization – and by leaving it behind.