3 Ways to Successfully Shift Careers Without The Relevant Experience

3 minute read

career shift

This issue seems to be as old as time itself. How do you land a job without having the relevant experience?

It’s frustrating when, everywhere you turn, the same sentence is staring right back at you: experience in a similar role or field is required. In a competitive job market, making a career shift can be challenging.

But, it is possible.

Here are some ways that can you maximize on what you have in order to land the job of your dreams. And it all starts with a change in perspective…

Lead with your story, not your history

CVs tend to be considered as a long list of what you’ve done, where you’ve been and the impact that you have had at previous organisations. When you’re trying to shift into a brand new field without the relevant experience, starting the conversation with a typical CV is not the best way to go (after all, that just highlights what you’re missing).

You need to play this game differently.

That’s why you should lead with the one thing that truly makes you stand out from other candidates: your story. By giving recruiters an insight into who you are as a person, they can assess whether you would be a great cultural fit for their organisation.

Despite what you might feel, storytelling is incredibly powerful and encourages people to connect with you as an individual. You’re passionate and full of enthusiasm for the industry. You’re not scared to travel into unfamiliar territory, you have plenty of transferable skills and a fresh perspective. All of which are desirable characteristics that recruiters will appreciate.

If you’re trying to craft your story, take these questions into consideration:

  • What has driven you to pursue a new career?
  • How have you worked on yourself to make this shift?
  • What do you have to offer?
  • How has your experience prepared you for this change?
  • Why does this organisations’ cause resonate with you?

This is your chance to share something more with recruiters, make the most of it and make sure that you’re memorable. There are also plenty of ways that you can do so. Incorporate your story into your cover letter and, if you’re really feeling creative, give your cover letter and CV a make-over by turning them into videos or Prezi presentations. Give yourself the edge by doing what many candidates won’t do and stand out for all of the right reasons.

Become a duck

You may have heard this saying:

“If it acts like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.”

Now, if we take this philosophy into the realm of recruiting, then it simply means that employers trying to figure out whether you’re the one. They want to see whether you can keep your head well above water and swim (like a duck).


And this, more than anything else, can be used to your advantage. Being a duck means much more than just ticking off a list of compulsory experience. They’re looking for someone that has transferable skills, who can take ownership of their work, lead and produce results. You can utilize some of your past experience to make this point. Have you made major decisions or lead projects that have created a serious ROI? Now is the time to mention them.

But, there are also plenty of ways to gain some additional experience by volunteering for an organization and offering your skills in the field that you want to get into. This can also be a great chance to get your foot in the back door as it is possible for volunteering to turn into a full-time role.

Build a network

How often have you heard, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’? Probably enough to be aware that who you know can be the difference between someone taking you into serious consideration and well… not.

Networking is one of the most powerful skills that you can pick up throughout your career. By connecting with other people in the field, you can learn about ongoing trends, potential challenges and more importantly, steer away from making well-known mistakes. With a broader perspective, you can contribute more to a discussion and expand your conversations to people who can be influential.

Besides all of the career advice, this also opens up the door to future offers and collaborations. After all, you are planting the seed now so that people think of you when opportunities arise.

Career shifting is a challenge, not a road-block. Persistence and self-confidence go a very long way. So, when you put these tips to the test remember to believe in your ability and all that you have to offer.

Looking for your next career move? Find your dream job on CharityJob today.

Jade Phillips

Marketing Manager at CharityJob. A true bookworm and social media geek, you'll find me living in pockets of online communities. Unattended snacks might go missing if left around me...

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