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The Power of Work Experience – How to Leverage It to Get That Dream Job

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Job seekers’ work experience is the number one asset that can help them secure the job they’ve always wanted. If you wish to change industries, advance your career, or switch to a more fulfilling role, your previous experience makes all the difference.

And there’s no such thing as irrelevant experience—whatever you did in the past, you can always capitalize on that, even if you’re getting into something new. So let’s explore leveraging your work experience to get your dream job.

Identify Your Dream Job

Before you think of how your previous work experience can get you where you want to be, you need to know where you want to be. Research and identify the jobs that best align with your skills, passions, and priorities. This’ll help you narrow down the job search.

If you struggle with choice overload, consider using helpful career resources. For example, read current employment statistics and trends to make an informed decision. Also, talk to your friends and acquaintances to get insider opinions on different industries, companies, and positions.

Review Your Work Experience

Once you have identified your dream job, take some time to review your experience. Look for any relevant skills or accomplishments that match the requirements of the job you want. Highlight any successes and achievements demonstrating your expertise and capability in the field.

For example, if you worked in counseling but want to enter the corporate world, you’re well-set for any HR role. And if you were a successful entrepreneur in the past but would like a healthier work-life balance, you’re perfectly capable of filling the position of a brand strategist.

Update Your Resume

One’s resume is their first chance to make a positive impression on recruiters and potential employers. So ensure it’s up-to-date and, most importantly, adjusted to your dream job. Highlight your most relevant experience and skills, and quantify your accomplishments with measurable results. Recruiters love to see quantitative data on candidates’ resumes.

That’s perfectly okay not to know how to present your experience so that it looks relevant to the new role. Most people don’t. Any decent sales resume writer can help you with that. Professional resume writers are also great at using keywords necessary for getting past applicant tracking systems (ATS) and into the hands of human recruiters.

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Craft Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is an opportunity to tell one’s story, let one’s personality shine, and make oneself a memorable candidate. Use it to highlight your passion for the industry, relevant work experience, and how you can add value to the company.

If you’re switching industries or careers, a cover letter is a perfect place where you can explain how your previous experience can help you thrive in the new role. 

Network and Build Relationships

Active and consistent networking makes job search that much easier. And leveraging your work experience can help you build strong relationships in your desired industry.

Attend industry events, make the most of LinkedIn networking opportunities, and reach out to former colleagues or alums already in your dream job or industry look for help at monster resume writing services reviews. Ask for informational interviews or job shadowing opportunities to learn more about the industry and potential job opportunities.

Leverage Your Transferable Skills

Even if what you did in the past doesn’t directly relate to your dream job, you likely have transferable skills that matter in any industry. According to most hiring managers, those are primarily soft skills (which can make or break the candidate’s chances). They include communication, leadership, problem-solving, creativity, teamwork, and whatnot.

But there are transferable hard skills as well. Project management, writing, CRM, and research (among many others) are just a few examples of the competencies one needs in most industries. Make sure to highlight these skills in your resume, cover letter, and interviews, and show how they can be applied to the specific job and company you’re applying for.

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Be Open to Learning

Even if a candidate has extensive experience in their desired industry, there will always be new skills and knowledge to learn. It’s essential to be open to new ideas and approaches and be prepared to continue learning throughout one’s career. The desire for lifelong learning shows one’s willingness to grow and adapt, which employers highly value.

Practice Your Interview Skills

How your resume and LinkedIn profile present your work experience can help you land an interview, but it’s up to you to impress the interviewer and show why you’re the best fit for the job. Work on your interview skills, including active listening, problem-solving, and even nonverbal behavior. Research the company and the job, and prepare questions to ask the interviewer to show your genuine interest and engagement.

Also, practice answers to common interview questions, so you don’t have to come up with them on the spot. Nerves take a toll on most people, so spontaneous interview answers aren’t always elaborate and specific enough. Here are a few questions to expect from basically any job interviewer:

  1. What about our company appeals to you the most?
  2. Why do you consider yourself a good fit for this position?
  3. Tell about a big challenge you faced in your previous job and how you dealt with it.
  4. What is the one professional achievement you’re proud of the most?
  5. Why did you decide to leave your last job?
  6. What are your steps when you have a conflict or an unresolved issue with your supervisor?
  7. How do you see your further career growth within our company?

An Afterword

Leveraging one’s work experience is a massive factor in securing your dream job. Employees sometimes find changing their careers intimidating because they don’t think their past experience can be relevant to the new role. But that’s not true. A large part of any job seeker’s skills is transferable.

Also, active networking, openness to lifelong learning, and stellar interview skills compensate for the lack of industry- or role-related experience. In turn, professional resume writing services can be beneficial for making one’s skills look relevant in the resume. Search for resume companies —and you’ll have one thing less to worry about on the way to your dream job.