Career Booster
Switching Careers at the Executive Level

by Heather Eagar
Switching careers may seem to be a dreadful option once you’ve reached the executive level. However, it happens more than you think – and it is contemplated even more than that. Better to learn how to handle it!
It may seem like a bit of an impossible task switch careers once you’ve reached the executive level, but it happens more than you think – and it is contemplated even more than that. In fact, according to Execunet’s 2009 Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, 94 percent of the senior-level executives surveyed would consider switching industries.

If you’re a part of this statistic, and are seriously making moves in this direction, you are about to embark on a life-changing experience. However, this venture won’t come without challenges. So to help you on your journey, here are some tips to consider as you make your attempt to switch careers at the executive level.

Know the New Career Like You Know the Old One

As an executive, you know how important it is to know your industry inside and out. Of course, for you to have made it to the level you are currently at, you probably spent years conducting research, shaking hands and effectively working your way to the top. In order to make a lateral move to another career, you’ll need to get to know the new career just as well as you know the old one, including the customers, products, metrics and process, among other aspects. Of course, you won’t have decades to get the job done.

So how do you do it? The good news is that you’re already a pro at networking, marketing yourself and researching the ins and outs of the career you’re leaving, so all you have to do is apply your same strategies to the new one. It may mean that you’ll need to get out and explore networking functions, join boards and join social networking sites that cater to your new career. The more work you put into getting to know the new career, the more you’ll increase your chances of convincing an employer that you’re no “newbie” in the field you aspire to be a part of.

Stress Commonalities in Your Resume

While you’re trying to start a new career, you don’t want to place too much emphasis on the contrasts between your old career and the one you hope to dive into. Of course, you can’t completely overlook obvious gaps that can’t be avoided because you didn’t acquire specific experience. Instead of focusing on them in a negative way, turn them into positives and marry them with skills that you feel can enhance their goals.

However, any contrasts would likely be mentioned in your interview and shouldn’t be focused on at all in your resume. Instead, you want to note only your skills and accomplishments that match the company’s needs. If you send the message, “I know I’m not from your field/industry, but I’m good enough to be here,” instead of just projecting, “I’m the right person for your position,” you could be setting yourself back – so far back that you’ll fall right behind your competition.

Stepping into a new career can be a scary prospect, but certainly one you can handle. If you learn all there is to know about your career of interest, and essentially nurture it as you did your previous one, you’ll be able to convince employers that you’re indeed the right person for any job you apply for.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer and is passionate about providing working professionals with current, reliable and effective job search tools and information. Compare the top executive resume writing services in the industry at

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