This article is the third in a series of multiple career paths outside the academy. The first part gives advice on when and why to consider a career outside of higher education and the second part gives advice on exploring career paths and taking care of oneself while navigating a potential career change.
Once you decide to explore যাওয়ার or decide you are leaving — the process rarely happens overnight. Although the interview process outside the academy is often much faster, you can expect to spend significant time researching the organization, developing your materials, and preparing for the interview.
When you are creating your resume and cover letter and preparing for the interview, it is important to use the language of the industry you are applying to by rearranging your experience for your audience. You can learn and use this language by reading job descriptions, reading trade publications, through informative interviews, and through courses, certificates and webinars that focus on professional education and development.
When you are creating your resume, be sure to look for examples from other professionals in the field in which you are applying. Create a simple resume template and then carefully adjust to the position you are applying for. When you are modifying your resume for a specific position, change the language of your resume to reflect the language in the job description. For example, if “event publicity” is listed as a requirement in a job ad, modify your resume from “event marketing” to “event promotion”. Explaining the impact of what you have done is as important as describing your job responsibilities. For example, instead of using “developer and pioneer university-wide training and upskilling programs,” use “developing and pioneering enterprise-wide training and upskilling programs for 50+ units, 32% and less than 66% of the budget.”
Instead of repeating your resume in descriptive form, your cover letter should indicate why you are passionate about why you do it, what makes you excited about the mission, products or services of the company you are applying for and why, in particular, this role is for you. Excellent fit. Highlight 2-3 key areas of your skill set and experience that are most relevant to the position rather than trying to provide a complete but surface-level overview of what you’ve accomplished. Like your resume, reviewing cover letter examples from other professionals working in the area you are applying to can be extremely helpful in making sure your tone and content are on the right track.
Once you are contacted for an interview, celebrate! Changing career paths is an important initiative, and I strongly encourage you to celebrate every step of your success.
Like your resume and cover letter, it’s important for your interviewers to connect points between your experience in the higher ad industry and the industry you’re applying to. Your pitch should be smooth, compelling and targeted for the specific company and role for which you are interviewing. Before you begin the interview process, create a “talking point”. Review each item in the job description and be prepared to tell how you have done similar work in the past and what the results have been. Focus on describing what you did, how you did it, and what impact it had. Industries outside the academy often value teamwork, collaboration, and teamwork; Using examples that illustrate how you not only participated but the benefits of collaboration are important. Your job in the interview process is not to explain how much you want the job – although motivation is important – but how you can help the company you are interviewing to address the specific business needs described in the job description.
Having a well-developed list of questions for your interviewers is an important part of interview preparation as it helps you assess the issues that are important to you in your next career. In addition to learning more about the specific role and the team you will join, you should also explore whether the organization and its culture are right for you.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for the interview process to begin to answer that question. Read reviews on GlassDoor (which also posts interview process reviews and sample interview questions), in fact, and other review platforms. Look for companies that regularly win awards in areas that are important to you — work-life balance, happy employees, best place for women, best place for parents, best place for minorities, etc. The relatively best companies for happiness, the best companies for luck at work, Newsweek’s most preferred companies, and similar rankings of employers are also useful sources of information about organizational culture.
Remember that interviewing is a two-way street; As you go through the interview process you should be as focused on determining if a particular organization and role is right for you as your interviewers are determining if you are the right candidate for the role.
In the next and final part of this series, I will share tips for navigating a professional identity change, creating a vibrant new professional network, and improving your career outside of the academy.
Brandy L. Simula, PhD (he / she) is a mentor, trainer, and professional speaker working in connection with leadership and organizational development, DEIB, and wellness. After a decade of working as a scholar, teacher, and administrator at Higher AD, he was transformed into a leadership development role at Fortune 50 in 2021. Read more about his work at brandysimula.com.