Written by: Joana Orvalho
Nervous about that interview you feel so lucky of having secured when changing careers, as although you have so many years of experience, you have none in that specific area? I am here to help!
It's absolutely normal to feel that way as one thing is to apply for a role for which you have tons of work experience, but it's a totally different story if you are applying for a role for which you have no direct working experience. As with everything, preparation is key!
So, how should you prepare for an interview that is more similar to the ones you had at the start of your working life, when you already have 10 plus years of experience? Below are three key things you must consider:
1. Be prepared to share more about your personality and personal interests than you would normally do: as you are changing careers, it is key that your employer understands why you are dramatically changing your path and be assured that this exactly what you want! There is nothing employers love most than a member of their team that is 100% motivated by the work they do! In addition, you want your potential employer to know that you are not just "trying out" this area to see if you'll like it – you want him/ her to leave the interview room knowing that working in that area is definitely your passion and that you will secure a role in that area sooner or later!
2. Show your transferrable skills: what has your past experience taught you that you can add to this new role? Think in particular about something that a person that has always worked in this area might not have experience in; simultaneously, what our your innate/ personality traits that will ensure you are a success in what you've applied for? – these will be your USP (Unique Selling Point)! In addition, if you have volunteered to do some projects either inside or outside work that is somehow linked to this new area, make sure you mention them and emphasize how much they taught you and re-iterated your interest in the area.
3. Understand your weaknesses before the interview and be prepared to demonstrate how quickly and easily you can overcome these by sharing examples from other areas of your life. This is similar to what we do in the first interviews we secure, straight after Uni, when all we had to share our own capabilities were Uni projects, part-time jobs, or personal interests. It is extremely important that you analyze the role you are applying to and understand the potential weaknesses from the outset, as this way you can start to pre-empty any points that might be raised during the interview. Even if these points are not raised, being prepared will automatically increase your confidence!
These are practical tips that will help you succeed in an interview in a number of ways – not only these will help you to be prepared for all the questions you might get (particularly the ones linked to the fact that you are changing careers), but will also increase your confidence and your positive attitude throughout the whole interview!
In addition to the above, a great technique to increase your confidence in an interview is to visualize it before it happens!
This technique can also be applied to any stressful and predictable/ planned situation in your life and what it involves is that you imagine the interview in your head before it starts – envision yourself in the way that you want the interview to flow:
- You would be confident (but not arrogant), able to create rapport with the person(s) interviewing you and you would leave the room knowing that you've created an amazing impression - that you have shown your full potential and that the employer would absolutely be lucky to have you!
If you are able to visualize the interview before it takes place and truly believe that it will go exactly as you desire, then it's 100% certain that the interview will be a success!
Joana Orvalho, Guest Writer
I'm Joana Fonseca Orvalho and I am a career & mindset coach, focusing on helping women to identify and GET a career they are passionate about. I am originally from Portugal, but live in London since 2008. I am married and have a son (currently 18 months old). I am an intuitive and direct person who takes deep reward in seeing the transformation in my clients' lives. I have worked for over 12 years in Banking and completed my coaching qualification in the World Coach Institute (WCI) in 2018, in the same year that I've launched my business.