Back in 2009, I was pursuing two radically different career options, and I talked with a lot of others who were in similar situations. It’s very common for someone who is making a career switch, where you have a foot in the old market as well as the new.
Part of this is relatively easy:
- Create two different résumés or CVs, targeted specifically at the different kinds of employers.
- Print separate business cards.
- Keep close track of WHICH conversations you have, and WHICH information you give to each. It’s embarrassing to get them confused.
- Create a custom strategy for each – separate target companies, search activities, even networking groups.
One difficulty in this is that LinkedIn doesn’t allow you to have multiple profiles, for good reasons. So your profile is going to be a combination of the two, trying to achieve some kind of balance which is attractive to both kinds of employers.
That means that you won’t be able to hide your dual identity from the different kinds of employers. This can get tricky, so the best solution is to simply develop good answers to these questions:
- Why is this particular résumé so different than what’s on LinkedIn?
- Why are you trying to switch careers?
- Why does your experience apply to THIS job opening?
- What’s the deeper message that I should be getting out of this – who are you really, what’s your passion, what’s your expertise?
If you develop solid, confident answers to these questions, you’ll be able to handle most situations pretty well. Yes, a few people might see this as a negative and eliminate you, but there might be a few others who see it as potentially positive. Look for openings where they’re looking for fresh thinking, for broader experience that you might have, and other attributes. In discussions, emphasize that your breadth of background is an advantage because it means you’ll create better solutions to their problems.
More and more, though, career transitions are an expected part of the landscape. If you think through it carefully and plan what you’re doing, you should do fine.
by Carl Dierschow