So you’ve decided to change your career and enter a completely new industry. Such a decision is often difficult; needless to say, it also requires lots of research and preparation. And these attempts are not fruitful initially: you may experience rejections, awkward job interviews. No wonder that you may consider quitting it and return to your old specialism.
However, everything is possible: we spoke with Monika Statulevičienė, Head of Talent Acquisition and Employer Brand at Ignitis Group. This HR specialist has worked with a number of applicants in tech who hadn’t gained any relevant work experience before – and, surprisingly, many of them managed to realize their career aspirations successfully. Check some useful advice below!
Confidence is everything… but not too much
According to Monika, one of the main mistakes is inappropriate self-evaluation, which could be even related to some level of imposter syndrome. “A lot of obstacles come from the candidates themselves, as many of them believe that their skills are not good enough.” Although this tendency may seem sensible regarding little or no work experience in tech, the HR specialist claims that such an attitude isn’t necessarily right. “HR people are not robots: they look at the overall profile and soft skills to find out if that person may be a good fit. It’s also quite common to hire a person who doesn’t match the job spec 100%.”
On the other hand, Monika hints that too much confidence may not be appealing at all. Even though creativity in applications is highly appreciated (especially when it comes to motivation!), it’s important not to exaggerate. “Sometimes inexperienced candidates can’t explain complicated concepts properly. For instance, a person talks about the latest version of Linux like an expert but can’t name any differences between this one and previous versions.” So this is the golden rule straight from the recruitment expert – don’t try to impress and rather be open and honest!
Make sure the first impression is great
What exactly is needed to prepare for your applications? A common sense would hint about a polished CV, a nice LinkedIn profile and other convenient means to find out more about the candidate from a couple of sentences only. And Monika advises to look broadly when it comes to content. According to the specialist, there are many ways to attract the employee. “Usually, we think of CVs as the set of job descriptions from the past. But this format is really flexible nowadays.”
Elaborating on the things worth to be displayed on your CV, Monika names any relevant experience. This shouldn’t be limited to workplaces. “You can describe various courses you did (or are still doing) as well as your personal attributes and soft skills. The most important thing here is their relevance to your future work environment.”
Challenges in job interviews and work
Last but not least, you finally land that interview for your dream job, and more challenges are upcoming. Selling your skill set can be really difficult but it’s definitely possible. And what’s the best way to do it? “Always be yourself,” says Monika. She also suggests that demonstrating motivation is the key to success. “We often ask candidates why they decided to change their career. So don’t underestimate your own interest there and show us how you’re working towards this role.”
Apart from that, the Monika marks the importance of mutual values. “During the interview, we’re evaluating these details too, and in some roles, they’re even more crucial than technical abilities.” Another thing to consider is the candidate’s own attitude towards the organization: “It’s useful to know that due to a high demand in tech, the selection is working both ways: both candidates and employers are choosing each other.”
After landing the new role, you may probably think about the smooth kickstart in the workplace. Monika warns that it couldn’t be that easy, but definitely worth doing and developing. “Your hard work and curiosity will definitely pay off,” she shares. Her top advice is to communicate any issue or query: “Don’t be afraid to speak to your colleagues. Sometimes a short conversation can be really powerful and help to overcome everyday issues!”