Career&Employment, Employment & Career, Milspouse

Changing Careers? Look at your Past Experience with a Fresh Perspective

By Rose Holland, CWDP
Employment Advocate

I have seen many spouses and transitioning military service members who have earned a degree, want to utilize a degree they earned years ago or just want to change careers. The challenge is they think they do not have experience in their new field because they are stuck with specific definitions. However, often the skills are there, they were just developed in a different manner. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at your experience with a fresh perspective.

It is easy for me to say as I have experience in helping people do just that, but how can you do this? The first thing is pull three to five job postings. Analyze them and try to figure out what would this person really be doing. Make a list of day-to-day job duties. Envision yourself working in such a position. Can you see yourself in the position?

Now think about your experience in light of your vision of the position. How have you done this type of job? What are related accomplishments you can list? This is where you have to think use this fresh perspective and think about how the work you have done relates to the work you want to do.

Let’s look at part of a Human Resource Specialist job posting.  Included in the posting: is “Submit background checks to be verified and track status of background checks to ensure all necessary information is received”.  What are the key words here – look for action words.  You will find submit, verified, track status, and ensure information is received.  Now, you may not have completed background checks, but perhaps you processed something similar where you had to verify information such as travel requests.  Your accomplishment related to this bullet might read “Submitted travel request paperwork for 127 employees, tracked to ensure 100% processing of requests, receipt of information and payment of vouchers.” Can you see how this relates?

What does this show an employer? It shows them you understand the duties of the job. It shows them you know how to relate the work you have done to the job you are seeking and comprehend how to apply your knowledge to a new duty. It shows them you are qualified.

Where are you getting stuck? How can we help you relate what you have done to a job posting?

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