One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a career changer is assuring hiring managers that you aren’t a risky hire. Although you may be transitioning from a completely different field, there will almost certainly be parallels between your previous field and the industry you are trying to break into. Here are four easy steps to craft an elevator pitch that will overcome hiring managers’ concerns by emphasizing your transferable skills and putting them in language your new boss will understand.
The first line of your elevator speech should establish your personal brand. How you brand yourself here should be an authentic reflection of who you are and should set the stage for the rest of your pitch.
If you don’t already have experience in the industry you are trying to enter, this is the place to establish yourself as a career changer.
I’m Joan. I’m a teacher who is passionate about making the transition to school administration.
If you do already have a significant amount of relevant experience that might not be evident from your previous job titles – for example, if you worked in fundraising but most of your responsibilities were in public relations, this is the point to re-frame your resume for the hiring manager.
I’m Ben and I’m an experienced communications professional.
Sell Your Strengths
Looking over your resume and past experience, what skills have played the biggest role in your success? There are many professional skills that are useful in a variety of industries and job functions — communication, creative problem-solving, technical savvy — but hiring managers want to know which of your transferable skills are going to be valuable in your new field, and in what capacity. Boil down your elevator pitch to capture these strengths without using industry-specific jargon that wouldn’t make sense to someone outside your current line of work.
Working in the medical field I developed strong project management skills and gained an extensive knowledge of the healthcare system. I understand HIPPA and can read medical records, and I’m sure these skills will be vital to my success as a paralegal at your firm since you specialize in medical malpractice.
If you don’t have much experience in the field you are hoping to enter, focusing on your ability to deliver results can strengthen your candidacy. It’s okay to downplay your previous industry or job title and highlight other aspects of your experience such as special projects, revenue generated, etc. that are similar to those of the position you’re targeting.
Make the Connection
Wrap up your pitch by spelling out why you’re making a career transition. Make it abundantly clear where you are hoping to land.
After several months of freelance work, I’m confident in my skills and I know that event management is the field for me. I’m ready to leave my current position and make this my full-time career.
Your elevator pitch is only the start of the conversation, but getting it right can help you leverage your skills and show hiring managers how you can be an asset in your new field. For more interviewing tips, check out our Resume Resources and expert Cover Letter Guide.