Cameron Career, a sales manager with 10 years of experience in the medical industry, wants to shift his career into the information technology (IT) field. Many friends of his, with much less sales experience, are making double his salary plus large bonuses in technical industries. Since Cameron knows the impact technology will have in the 21st century, he wants to stake his claim in the hot technology industry with a job involving e-commerce.
Many people face Cameron's dilemma: they want to participate in the booming technology markets, but they aren`t sure whether, or how to make the leap from their current industry. Here are some helpful hints in shifting your career.
Do your homework
Become familiar with the publications that are popular to those in the Internet/technology field. Fast Company, eCompany, Business 2.0, and The Industry Standard are just a few of the media read by e-commerce businesspeople. Gain an understanding of key business issues and common problems within the industry. Discover the hot topics and become fluent in the lingo of the field. For example, when technology companies discuss B2B or B2C focus or in terms of online advertising - CPM versus CPC models?
Dust off that old resume and give it a new shine
If you have been with your company for a while and have forgotten how a resume is expected to look, get professional assistance or check out some how-to books on the subject. Technology can also be your best friend. An Internet resume writing company, like e-resume.net, understands what companies are looking for in future employees and can guide you in determining the "keywords," formatting and writing your resume. Unfortunately, many people who have been out of the career search process for years still put their height, weight, marital status, religious affiliations, and sex on their resumes. These resumes are "hot potatoes" for HR people. In fact, companies legally are not allowed to screen resumes on those criteria. Yours skills are not outdated, so your resume should not be either.
Cut to the chase
Also, keep your resume brief and concise. Employers want a succinct synopsis, not a blow-by-blow account of each project you worked on. Your resume is the stepping-stone to getting an interview. After getting an interview, use your time with the potential employer to expand upon what you have highlighted in your resume. Think of your resume as the itinerary for the interview. Offer career highlights, and if interviewers want specifics, they will inquire further. Finally, remember that all hiring decisions are still eventually decided by humans and not solely by Optical Character Readers (OCR), so make sure your resume is easy to read. Most potential employers read hundreds of resumes. Make yours worth their while.
Show your success
Your goal is to show how your best achievements and contributions with your current and previous employers will allow a technology company to increase profitability and excel as well. If you are a tremendous sales manager due to your follow-up skills and ability to immediately develop rapport with new clients, then these skills are transferable to an Internet/technology company. Remember, the processes at most companies are very similar even if the products or services differ. And most companies will put you through extensive training on their products.
Surf for a job
Utilize technology to get your resume in the hands of important decision makers. Faxing resumes is a thing of the past. There are tremendous career opportunities to be found on career sites, such as Careermag.com. In evaluating career sites, be sure you are able to search numerous job opportunities, post your resume to thousands of viewers daily, easily update your resume, and have your resume in the company`s hands very quickly.
There are also services that will e-mail your resume to recruiters for one small price, which can save you time and money when compared to snail mailing your resume to the same recruiters. No matter what avenue you decide, technology is on your side. You should be able to easily e-mail your resume to any company or headhunter when necessary. Have your resume in both Word and Text formats, so that it can be read by any system.
Face to face
When our friend Cameron Career interviewed with technical companies, he thought about his previous experiences and decided that he was in the "sales" industry not the "medical" industry, and that sales was about process, not product. With this mindset, when he was asked about a product with which he was not familiar, he mentally replaced that topic with "widgets." For example, the interviewer asked, "How do you think that you could boost the sales of our `meta tag software` that will be used by web-driven businesses to increase their position in the market?" Cameron, mentally replacing "widgets" in place of `meta tag software` said, "I would research companies with low visibility in their specific area on the Internet and initiate contact with these companies and provide a solution to their problem."
Just remember, whether you are discussing computer software, hardware, or an Internet company, business is business. Any strategy that Cameron applied in sales, no matter if he is selling medical supplies or computer software is transferable. So, if you have a good track record in your profession, you will likely have success in an emerging technology or high-tech industry with the right preparation and motivation. The same strategies apply everywhere.
If you are a little apprehensive about making a career switch, just follow Cameron Career`s lead. He applied what he knew about his old industry to break into a new business. The key thing to remember is to get back to basics. With a solid business strategy foundation and a concise resume, you should have a firm grasp on landing a job of the future.
Chandra Fox, author of Career Upgrade, is Vice President of e-resume.net, a national resume writing company.e-resume.net combines personalized attention with the speed of the Internet to deliver professional resumes and cover letters and other documents essential to clients throughout their job search.
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