How Hiring Managers View Career Changers
Changing your career to pursue a job that you always wanted can be an exciting chapter in your life. Contemplating your work-life balance, earning potential, and chances for advancement as crucial motivators for a career shift can really set the ground for a refreshing start for you.
Everyone should shape their work lives as they please with their happiness, goals, and aspirations emboldening their endeavors. However, a career shift requires great commitment, energy, and passion in order to be successful.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Changing Careers
There are many pros and cons that could either accelerate or hinder a career change process. Evidently, a career change is not as simple as changing jobs, and therefore, weighing your skills and objectives beforehand will help you make this momentous decision a lot smoother. Some of the factors that influence a career change are the potential for better income, self-development, and growth, less stress, or a change of scenery. While better earning potential is undoubtedly the biggest motivator, we also tend to prioritize our wellbeing, the need for better recognition and rewards, and the impact of workplace culture on our mental health. These reasons make the career-changing process a viable solution to improving our financial security and personal lives.
On the other hand, completely overhauling your career is not always a safe bet. First, although you might have done thorough research into the desired job market, the results are not always fulfilling. You might enter a tougher situation, requiring more hours, adding more stress, and in the end, making you less comfortable than before. That being said, starting from scratch can be extremely daunting as you won’t have a clearly defined career path in the beginning. Moreover, proving yourself, your work ethic, and your reliability to new employers and coworkers can be challenging and mentally draining.
You will have to validate your skills and worth in front of many experienced colleagues who have been in the industry for years. The competition will be fierce if you don’t have a proven track record that illuminates your achievements in your new career. You will have to adapt quickly and set aside all setbacks that come your way.
How do hiring managers perceive a career switch?
While these are some of the advantages and disadvantages that can make or break a career change, the way hiring managers perceive your career choices is critical to your prosperous new beginning. There is no uniform opinion about a career change. Instead, hiring managers will try to discover the genuine reasons you decided to pivot, and if you can prove your skills are transferrable and match the desired employee profile, then you’re on the right track.
However, showing that you haven’t done enough legwork to understand the job and industry, lacking enthusiasm, and not being able to convince the hiring manager about your desire to commit can give them the wrong impression. Being transparent and elaborating on why a career transition was deemed mandatory can prevent your hiring manager from thinking that you’re too fickle. Showing your passion and inclination to take the initiative and be in the company for the long run will prevent your hiring manager from establishing the judgment that you might abandon your employer.
Hiring managers also won’t be favorable towards candidates who insinuate through the interview that they were disinterested in their previous job. How will they be sure that you will contribute 100% to the company’s growth if your background shows them you had little interest in the job? In contrast to this, hiring managers will appreciate you saying that although your previous job was a great experience, you would like to try something new and contribute your skills to a new field.
Giving too many personal details or casting blame on your previous employer will do more harm than good. Professionalism is something that hiring managers value the most. Providing apt examples of your decision to switch careers will be a far more legitimate method of proving your competence and character quality.
On the other side, the pandemic’s impact on the economy and job market can be a convincing reason for your career change. Many people have resorted to new jobs due to financial hardships that dominated their lives for many months. Bringing up legitimate reasons and showing your energy in the field will convince the hiring manager that they have the right person for the job in front of them. Passion and enthusiasm are powerful predictors of success.
As mentioned before, you should be careful how you frame your career change when being interviewed by the hiring manager. To demonstrate that the shift was rational or even necessary, it’s important to illustrate that the job you’re applying for will improve your happiness, skillset, and financial stability. Hiring managers love to listen to candidates with high emotional intelligence and the desire to help others, lead a team, and grow by benefiting the company as a whole. There is an increasing emphasis on soft skills when hiring managers interview potential candidates.
Another important aspect that hiring managers focus on is results and applying relevant job skills in different settings, whether that’s in previous jobs, school, or real life. As a rule of thumb, you should always highlight transferable skills and back up your claim that you’re suitable for the position by describing a project and the end result, with your skills being the foundation of your story. Providing concrete examples of your effectiveness, career values, and problem-solving skills will really facilitate the process and reveal to the hiring manager that you’re eager to commit.
Hiring managers follow an all-encompassing recruitment strategy and interview thousands of applicants. If you’re considering a career change, you’re not necessarily in a less favorable position than other candidates who have more experience in the aspiring position. In the end, it will be you who will stand out across the entire hiring process, with the breadth of ideas, goals, and skills that you carry. It will take practice to angle your messaging in a way that establishes your unique value proposition as a candidate who’s determined to pivot for personal and professional growth. To succeed, find the recurring pattern of achievements and transferable skills from your previous job that can be used as your selling point. And most importantly, think clearly, don’t be nervous, and be yourself.