Question: How do you explain that you want to transition from one field to a different one entirely (e.g. from finance to marketing)? –Mariyam H., Chicago
Answer: Making the leap across divisions doesn’t have to be difficult. With some finesse, you’ll find that persuading the hiring manager you’re not only willing but also qualified to move across divisional lines isn’t as challenging as it initially appears. Some things to consider before having the conversation:
Make a Pro and Con List
Determine the pros of switching departments—what skills you’ll gain in the new position, what you’ll enjoy more and whether you’ll have opportunities for growth and development.
Similarly, determine the cons of making the move—what challenges do you see ahead of you? What skills will you need to learn prior to interviewing, and which can be learned on the job?
Comb through Your Resume
This goes without saying, but you’ll need to be particularly cognizant of your resume. It’s especially important to update and tailor it to your new position. If, say, you were looking to make the switch from finance to marketing, you might want to highlight a time where you assisted the organization in sales endeavors during a particularly busy quarter.
Look to Your Transferable Skills
Shine a spotlight to your transferable skills that will allow for success in the role. This can be done in your resume, cover letter and the interview. This gives hiring managers a reason to continue the conversation—no need to fear being taken out of the running prematurely!
It’s a huge decision to change fields, one not to be taken lightly. Though the decision will not come without its challenges, with the right amount of preparation and perseverance, you’ll find the journey to new and fulfilling career filled with more excitement than fear!
Nurys Harrigan-Pedersen is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.