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5 Steps to Tackle Gaps in Job Experience when Changing Jobs

by Amber Beam in Professional Development
September 11, 2017

Smart career changers know having the right job experience is crucial for getting your foot in the door at a new company. You must have the right experience to excel at your dream job, AND demonstrate ample job experience to the HR recruiter and hiring manager.

But, how do you know if you have the right experience? Or what if you know you DON’T have enough job experience. What should you do?

In this brief video, I’ll give you the lowdown on my 5-step process to identify and tackle gaps in job experience. You’ll learn how to:

  • simply and easily identify your job experience gaps
  • find development opportunities to strengthen your resume while you’re still working and
  • get introductions to people and resources to get the job experience you need to make you a viable candidate for your dream job

Step 1: Identify Dream Job’s Key Skills

In step one, you will create a baseline of the key duties and responsibilities of your dream job. If you have done the job before, you probably have a good idea of what that looks like.

If you’re unsure, or you couldn’t articulate the duties of the job, then do research on LinkedIn. Capture the job titles associated with your search and the top 3-5 duties or responsibilities. Then compare job titles and duties across several jobs (hint – you should see a good deal of similarity amongst your choices).

Step 2: Make a List of Your Key Skills

Make a list of your key skills to understand where you are and what you have to offer right now. Think about the skills you use daily, what you’re good at, your strengths, etc.

If you need some help finding those, get a copy of your latest performance appraisal. Or ask a trusted coworker or a former boss to describe your strengths. You can also get a copy of your current job description. It will list the key duties of your job and you’ll know right away which duties are your strengths.

Step 3: Compare Dream Job Skills to Your Skills

Compare the skills needed for the dream job and the skills you possess.

Identify the areas where you need more experience or knowledge to meet the requirements for the dream job.

Step 4: Create an Action Plan to close Job Experience Gaps

Get the step-by-step prep guide to document the comparison information in step three and design a development plan to close job experience gaps. The prep guide includes examples of ways you can close gaps in your job experience, including volunteering, registering for a class or shadowing someone in the job. You must get the experience you lack before you apply. That might mean taking on some projects at work that are outside your current scope.

Step 5: Share Your Action Plan with Trusted Advisor

In the best-case scenario, the trusted advisor is your boss. I realize that doesn’t always happen, and will talk about other options below. But if you’re lucky enough to have a supportive boss, take your prep guide in and talk about your next steps. Let your boss know you’re planning your next career move and play up how your development will benefit her and the company.

If you don’t have a swell relationship with your boss, return to your trusted coworker or former boss. Share your action plan with them. Ask for their opinion and suggestions.  Then go one step further and ask for their help – for an introduction to someone on staff who can help you get firsthand experience or even resources for getting the job experience you need to be competitive for the dream job. The idea is to get support and nurture a relationship with experts who can help you transition to your dream job.

Don’t let a gap in job experience keep you from making a career change. Use the steps above and the Job Experience Prep Guide to create a development plan to get the experience you need to land your dream job.

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