Change Jobs or Not | Frequent Job Changes – Impact on your Career
Additional probing for job changers will take place to ensure that these individuals have valid and reasonable explanations for leaving each company.
If you have changed jobs frequently and were still invited for an interview, there must be some accomplishments and skills listed in your résumé that attracted attention. Determine these desired skills and play the right vignettes to convince interviewers they made the right decision to interview you.
The reasons you left each company should be presented with a brief explanation in a matter-of-fact, confident tone. Do not provide an excuse for departing. Instead, state a valid business reason for your career change.
If your candidacy reaches the final stage of interviews and an offer is imminent, you can be assured that reference checking will probe for the reasons why you left each company in re- cent years. Any new employer would want to make certain that they are not the next stop in a series of short visits.
Economic news can be a reason for job changers in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The dotcom era of that time is widely known forluring employees from large corporations to start-up ventures. Companies grew quickly with fresh capital resulting in a large number of employees who were within the grasp of wealth with stock options.
Unfortunately, the newfound capital was burned at an alarming rate causing large numbers of job losses and shrinking values for stock options.
Many of these displaced employees wanted to roll the dice more than once and went from one dotcom to another, only to watcheach one fade away or get bought—resulting in yet another job loss. This period of job frenzy should be understood by a reasonable prospective employer.
One possible advantage of frequent job changes is that you shouldhave learned new skills during each short stint. Be certain to inform interviewers of relevant skills learned.
One of these valuable experiences could have been a total immersion in an entrepreneurial environment with its rapid-fire decision-making capability in a flat organization, very few subordinates, and lean budgets where you obtained a great appreciation for what teamwork and “hands-on” really mean.
Personal networks of some executives and middle managers couldhave been expanded to include venture capitalists, investmentbankers, and industry executives. Focus on what was learned and not the emotional roller coaster going from job to job.
Getting a job in another industry requires a significant amount of research into the practices, regulations, major companies, products, and other aspects unique to the new industry. It can be done. Consultants do this all the time before tackling a new assignment.
The successful mind-set that will facilitate the change is to identify a likeness to an industry employee in as many ways as possible. Incorporate some exposure or experience related to the new industry into your elevator speech.
Rewrite your résumé to remove, or make generic, all terms unique to your previous industry experience and incorporate in any way possible reference to the new industry using its terminology.
A key ingredient to make the switch is a long-term passion for the industry that surfaces in a hobby, frequent attendance at industry conferences, and volunteer work performed over the years.
Before going on company interviews in a new industry, your research should enable you to carry on a conversation about the new industry’s politics, recent news items, high profile executives, unusual company activities, and innovative product offerings.
You must create the perception that you are very knowledgeable in the industry even though your résumé does not reflect extensive experience.
Do not use terminology from your previous industry during the interview, otherwise, the interviewer will conclude that you will not be able to adapt to the new industry. Rather, you should use the new industry terminology to the best of your ability as if you were already working in that industry.
You can indicate, to the extent that it is true, that you have always been interested in the interviewer’s industry, subscribe to industry publications, have many industry contacts, and have transferable skills for which new industry friends ask advice.
Your research on the Internet and with networking contacts should identify skills from your functional discipline (e.g., finance, marketing, human resources, sales, administrative, engineering, etc.) that apply to the industry in which you are trying to break into. Describe those skills to the interviewer while being careful not to refer to your current industry.
Demonstrate that you have an excitement about participating in the growth of a company in the new industry. Too many job seekers make statements in interviews like, “My previous industry skills can be transferred to your industry.” That is presumptuous. Job seekers have no credibility when they say that previous skills can be transferred to another industry.
Interviewers need to be convinced and that statement must be supported by specific experience. For example, Kyomi was an accounting manager for a consumer goods company manufacturing tooth paste and she was interviewing for an accounting position in the chemical industry.
During her interview, she described how she maintained accounting records for the end product, and, after a few months, her supervisor asked her to keep track of costs for the chemical components of the toothpaste. She mentioned the names of some chemical compounds and impressed her interviewers.