When changing careers, we often have to put a new spin on our experience to show how it will work in new areas. Doing this on a resume is an easy, methodical exercise.
But in person, we sometimes clam up and go overboard.
Does that mean we resort to exaggeration, to boasting?
Nope. Quite the opposite.
You’re better than what you’re selling
Most people are so fearful of overhyping themselves that they stop far short of where they should.
They use qualifiers like “mostly” or “probably.” They say they haven’t “really done it before,” as if their experience means less than someone else’s.
Being objective about your experience (and yourself) means assessing both sides of the coin. Yes, we all have things we should work on.
But something motivated you to apply for that job, and I don’t think it was self-delusion! (I hope so, anyways. J )
Know what you bring to the table, and remember that getting hired is a 50/50 proposition – you’re not there to impress anyone, you’re there to provide great work for a salary that you deserve.
An expert in change
Just be confident in what you’ve done, and be confident in what makes you so valuable.
Will the new boss say that his industry does things differently than your old industry?
Maybe, sure. So what?
Don’t skip a beat. Say that you’re sure that there’s a lot to learn, and that you’re excited about learning them AND with all the experience you’ve gained through your different jobs, the learning curve should be a short one.
What he needs to understand is that you’re a learning and change expert, you already know a lot, and you’ll pick up whatever you need to in record time.
But don’t relax and let your “I got this” attitude take you too far – or you’ll promise too much.
Don’t imagine “ideal state”
It’s easy to feel like we can tackle the world when things are great. Life is easy when you’re surrounded by a great team of people, when you have a supportive boss who thinks the world of you, when your wife/husband saw you off this morning with a passionate kiss because things are just so darned great at home, when you’re driving a beautiful new car, and when your company is absolutely killing it with new revenue records practically every quarter.
Man, aren’t you pumped??
Unfortunately, your team is dysfunctional, your boss is a jerk, your home life is a disaster, you have a $3,000 car repair bill that you can’t afford, and everyone is nervous that the company might go bankrupt.
In that scenario, do you want to fill your plate with every company initiative under the sun – or do you want more manageable portions?
Just tell them how great you are
Remember, you’re making these career changes for the fun and the challenge – you’re not doing it for unnecessary stress.
If you talk objectively about what you can offer – remembering all of the good – then you will both be better off.
At some point, you’ll need to brag about yourself.
And on the flip side of the coin, maybe we don’t need to talk about it, but…
In the early days of the new job, you might feel the need to exaggerate to feel like you belong. Don’t do it. It will just create unrealistic expectations for you, and – if you start to struggle a bit – will lead your boss to question all of your experience.
Professional integrity can take years to build, but only days to crumble.
If you’re honest about your experience and the transition turns out to be a bit easier than expected, then you’ll succeed that much faster, your new boss will be even more pleased with his decision to hire you (he will take credit, after all), and you’ll love the new job even more.
And in no time, you’ll be ready to take your talents to that next career.
What, you didn’t think we’d stop at just one new job, did you? ☺
Have you ever had a tough time selling your experience in a new environment? What happened? Tell us in the comments!