Tips for finding + filling the gaps in your experience needed to make that career switch ;)
Maybe you are a career switcher or looking to advance in your current role, whatever it is your trying to do, getting from where you are to where you want to go means filling in some white space in your experience.
So get pumped because we have some tips for how to identify and fill those blank spaces.
Step 1: Identify the holes
In a previous article, we covered INFORMATIONAL INTERVIEWS. Getting those one-on-one coffees and phones calls is a great way to identify the areas that you need more experience in. Find someone at the company, level, school, or hot dog stand (ok probably no hot dog stand)…but find that person who is already where you *might* want to be and get the real deal insights from them into the key gaps between your experience and his or hers.
Ask questions like:
What are the top three skills that make you succesful in your role or industry?Based on my experience coming from industry X, where do you see the key gaps being in terms of experience or skill set?How did you prepare yourself for your current role?Do you have any suggestions for resources (books, online learning courses, offline classes, newsletters, etc.) to learn more about and better prepare myself for the industry?
Long story short -
Get out of your comfort zone and find out more about that archeology major who got into your dream MBA program. Ask that former archeology major and first year MBA, if they can recommend another archeology major who’s now at a VC firm that you aspire to be at. (Disclaimer: we don’t know if the archeology community is this tight knit, but we like to hope so.)
So what if you’re super shy and talking to a bunch of people about your gaps in experience is not the move for you? P.S. We think you have more to gain than to lose from this but we’ll leave that for another article. Lucky for you, here comes tip number two (anyone else impressed by that rhyme?).
Work backwards from your *dream job* job description
Do a quick Google search on “Product Manager at Spotify” or “Venture Investor at Sequoia Capital”. Read the job description closely (people put time and effort into these things) and pull out the one or two key bullets that you currently don’t have on your own resume. Once you’ve got those identified, create a game plan for how you’ll fill the gaps (we’ve got some ideas — keep reading!).
Looking at job postings even when you aren’t looking for a job will help guide you on where the industry is and what resume bullet points you may currently be missing.
Step 2: Invest in your yourself and fill those gaps
Let’s say your plan is to go for a VC role down the line. You check out a few VC firm job postings and realize that strong quant abilities is a non-negotiable (again, the dating parallels are uncanny).
Say you know you lack quant abilities or straight bull$h!tted your way through math courses in college, after talking with someone you’ll know that’s a skill set you desperately need to brush up on before you hit send on your application. Well, praise be, you have a million and one MOCO (multiple online course offerings) to give you those skills, so you can slide your *newfound Alan Turing math abilities* into your application packet. If you need a resource, that’s free ninety-nine check out Coursera. Skillshare is also pretty solid at $12/month for unlimited classes. You can also re-live your keg stand days and sign-up for a course at a local college. And if you want to work at a fancy startup in product management or machine learning, or some other robot language, take a course on TreeHouse, General Assembly or Code Academy.
You have to take a level of self awareness and honesty into figuring out where your blank spaces are…but seriously, identifying and eliminating those holes will help you turn the volume to eleven on your application.
YOU GOT THIS! -thelighthouse team
A start-up connecting you to young professionals in the industries and graduate programs you want to be in. We make it easy to be smart about your career.
Visit us at www.thelighthouse.us
Sign up to our newsletter here to stay updated about upcoming events and for some weekly
career advice and inspiration.
Article written by MacKenzie Green