What to Consider When Making a Career Switch

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We’re no longer of a generation that chooses one career and sticks with it.  While our grandparents may have stayed with a single company their entire working lives, nowadays people bounce around companies, continents, and career paths all the time.  Unfortunately, this means that our forefathers may not be able to give us the best advice when we decide we want to make the transition.  So here are some important things to consider while making that uncertain, foreboding, and always exciting career switch!

Assess Where You’re At

A crucial part of changing direction is determining exactly where you currently stand.  It’s important to understand why you want to make a change, and what specifically you have at the moment that you want to modify.  Is your work unfulfilling, not paying you well enough, or leading to a dead end?  And are there ways you can remedy these current problems without jumping ship?  Making a career switch is a huge task, so instead of falling into the “grass is always greener” mentality right away, it may be wise to evaluate whether or not you can find ways to be happier where you currently are.

Do Your Research

Before you make any hasty decisions, it’s important to understand what you’ll be getting yourself into.  You don’t want to transition out of a career just to find the same problems in the new industry you’re entering.  For the new field that you’re considering, make sure you have a solid understanding of salary range, career path, corporate culture, and so on.  You don’t want to glorify a new career solely because it presents a change, and then come to find out that you were happier beforehand.

Get Qualified!

Just because you feel passionate about a new position doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to come easily to you.  Even if you’re an expert in your current field, you may find yourself having to start from scratch when you transition to a new one.  Figure out what prerequisites are essential for the new career you’re pursuing, and accept the fact that you may have to spend considerable time becoming qualified for the new position.  This might mean taking classes, learning new skills, or hitting the books and catching up on industry literature.

Make Connections

Another step to start thinking about is how you’re going to work your way into the “in crowd” of your chosen industry.  It’s important to know the right people when you’re making a career switch, as they’ll be able to impart advice, make introductions, and present you with new paths to consider.  To that end, think about finding a mentor you can chat back and forth with as you grow and become more established in your new vocation.

Making a career switch takes courage, so pat yourself on the back if you’ve decided to embark on this transition.  Remember that it won’t always be easy, but that the best things in life take hard work and tenacity.

Best of luck,

The Doostang Team

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Tricky Interview Questions

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We’ve covered a lot of tough interview questions in past posts, and here we come at you with yet another round.  Sometimes interviewers ask us questions that are more on the tricky side.  It’s hard to know what to say – it often seems the best approach is to tell them what they want to hear, rather than the truth – and sometimes it’s just confusing why these questions are being asked in the first place.  Here are a few examples:

What Are Your Hobbies?

Why is this question relevant to the job you’re applying for, and why would the interviewer care enough to ask this in a formal interview?  Try to look at this question as a means for the interviewer to understand who you are a little better.  If you’re hired, you’ll be absorbed into the company culture, so the company wants to get a more complete picture of you as an individual.  Understanding what you do for fun can help the interviewer determine what your working style might be like.  It can also help them determine how a job will fit into your life, given what you do outside of your work.

How Would Your Coworkers Describe You?

Do you even know the answer to this question?  Could you really provide an accurate assessment of what others think?  This question is more of a way for the interviewer to find out what qualities you most value about yourself, as you likely assume that these are the same traits that others appreciate.  It also showcases how modest or overconfident you might be.  Here you might take the chance to describe some positive interactions you’ve had with coworkers, citing instances where you have collaborated with them on projects.  This will give you a way to back up your answer, as well as to imply that you are able to work well in a team.

Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?

This question is tricky because it’s hard to tell if you should speak about yourself in five years at that company – after all, you don’t want to appear presumptuous, but you also don’t want to seem disloyal.  And what if where you want to be is in the seat of the person who is interviewing you?  Instead of focusing on what specific position you see yourself in, try to think of things you want to have achieved.  In what areas will you grow the most?  What goals do you have for your career?  After you’ve considered these questions, you can then turn your answer around and talk about ways in which you will be able to accomplish all of this at the company you are interviewing for, speaking about how your growth will be mutually beneficial for you and the corporation.

Some questions during the interview can seem like time wasters – and some are.  But interviewers often have underlying points they’re trying to get at, even if it’s just to see how you’ll react to a specific question.  Try to prepare for an interview as thoroughly as you can and keep an open mind when tackling tricky questions like these.

All the best,

The Doostang Team

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Language Secrets for a Successful Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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On the job circuit, it is important to be yourself and clearly express your experience and ability in a way that will resonate with recruiters.  Sincerity is a critical component of being authentic, however you may need to massage your language to make sure the hiring manager is listening.  Of course you don’t want to deceive a potential employer with a trumped-up version of yourself.  That is very similar to padding your resume – a definite no-no in the world of successful job seekers. What you must do to ensure a receptive audience is to say all the right things – in the right way.

1.  Use the Language of Results.

Most CEOs are interested in how your behavior and enthusiasm can help the company move toward specific goals and objectives. An effective strategy includes researching the company for new initiatives, pet projects, or even community involvement and aligning your key work experiences with the activities receiving corporate attention.  Critical information will provide the frame for presenting your skills to the employer. Highlight strengths and experiences that parallel the business intelligence gathered in your research efforts.

Tailor your presentation to garner extra attention from a hiring manager.  Interest may be generated from shared efforts on a community project, HR committee work on social events (translates to improved morale in the language of the CEO), or attending city council meetings on zoning issues (the Division Manager will see you as a trusted representative of the company, as well as a Subject Matter Expert on community relations and regulations).

2.  Verbalize How You Get Things Done.

Gather several sample job descriptions for plum positions and study them for skill areas emphasized.  Sure, every position will share some basic skills that form the core of that profession, but each company has unique expectations within a specific corporate culture.  Compare the job descriptions with your personal work history, not just in terms of basic qualifications, but also in terms of added-value you bring to the table from your personality, extensive contacts, or significant accomplishments. Help the hiring manager understand how you will enhance the team’s functioning, levels of productivity, or bottom line when you deliver your significant skill set.

3.  Listen for Clues.

Many companies share an idiosyncratic language that reflects the corporate mission. Listen to how individuals talk and write.  By identifying trends, such as “do you see what I’m talking about” or “I hear what you’re saying”, you have tapped into clues about how individuals understand the world around them.  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests mirroring the language of those around you helps to create a bond of shared vision and direction. You will make a solid connection.

4.  Utilize Action Words.

Using powerful language conveys your individual influence and authority. It is not necessary to be in a position of authority to communicate that type of strength to others. When job-seeking, you may feel as though you are an underdog in interactions, but this is the time to step up your game and project your confidence and competence. Action words are a great way to do so. Your list of accomplishments may include “projects executed”, “costs contained”, or “profits accelerated”.

5.  Express Professional Passion.

Passion ignites interest. Define your professional passion by listing all the career-related activities that excite you. Don’t be afraid to express those professional passions by talking about what energizes you. Enthusiasm is contagious and most employers are drawn to candidates who are energized about the profession, their company, or the mere possibility of making a well-defined contribution. Whether you are a dreamer or a doer, you have specific skills to offer – get excited and don’t be shy about sharing.

6.  Incorporate Nonverbal Messages.

Remember the power of body language in addition to all other types of communication. Pay attention to your nonverbal messages as well as those of the hiring manager. In any face-to-face interactions, use the basics of good eye contact, a firm handshake, and an open stance.  If the body language of the other person doesn’t seem as open, try engaging him/her in conversation that is appropriately upbeat. If you are in the office, pay attention to objects on the desk for clues to possible conversation starters – a favorite sports team or plaque of recognition. Over the phone or email, introduce your interest in a special corporate project.

Put these secrets to work and you will be communicating with prospective employers at many different levels. Being able to effectively match the hiring manager’s communication style in multiple ways maximizes a sense of connection and shared vision. Speaking the same language helps the prospective employer see you as part of the team, getting you a few steps closer to landing that plum position!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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6 Internet Traps that Stall a Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

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Using the Internet is clearly the “go-to” approach used by most job-seekers today, but be certain you don’t treat your online search efforts casually.  Any mistakes could be broadcast to a wider audience than you imagine. Not all publicity is good publicity when it comes to your personal branding enterprise or online job search. Anything posted online tends to take on a life of its own, including job postings. So be certain you maintain as much control as possible of your own information and job search avoiding these 6 traps.

1.  Posting personal contact information.

You need a balance here between being able to be contacted and making yourself vulnerable to identity theft.  When posting your resume, follow each site’s posting guidelines, and be aware of how “public” your contact information will be when your resume “goes live”. Check the settings to see if employers have a secure portal for the site, or if your resume is available to anyone on the Internet.  The more secure the better in targeting your job search and maintaining your privacy.

2.  Using inappropriate email addresses.

Make sure you have selected an email account that is appropriate to your job search. One that is too personal definitely sends the wrong message, suggesting that your boundaries between work and play are not in place.  Similar concerns may be raised about your judgment if you use your current work email.  There are many options to open free email accounts online.  Consider one of those resources to set up a dedicated email account just for your job search.  It may also help you organize your job search efforts.

3.  Opening your job search up to your current employer.

There are many ways your current employer may learn about your job search, but you can take a few precautions to lessen that possibility.  Avoid using any contact information from your current place of employment. Be selective about where you choose to post. Wallpapering the Internet with your resume is likely to create more problems than positive results for you. Do not use work stations or equipment at the office to launch your online job search.

4. Failing to match your qualifications to those required in the position.

It is tempting to send out resumes to interesting positions, particularly if you are ready to explore a new area or feel stuck in your current industry.  Using the “old shot-gun” approach of sending the resume to multiple sites is relatively easy and inexpensive, but such an indiscriminate approach may diffuse your efforts and paint you as desperate or lacking focus. Don’t diminish your strengths by responding to “everything”!

5.  Limiting your job search to online efforts.

Not all jobs are posted online.  Depending on your geographic parameters, you may want to get out and search local job sources as well.  Networking continues to be a strong source of jobs for diligent and well-connected candidates. Don’t rely just on Internet contacts – give your phone number and physical address when you personalize these responses.  Remember, don’t use company time or equipment in sending things out or identifying contact information.

6. Not researching companies to which you are applying

By finding out about the corporate culture for positions of interest, you are more likely to be successful in aligning your job search efforts and resume with those of the company.  And of course, use the Internet to find out basic contact information to take control in reaching the right person.


The Internet is definitely a strong resource in any job search these days. Take a bit of time to check your “appearance” by using an appropriate email account, make sure any attachments are virus-free, and maintain a business-like approach in your email correspondence.  Ensure the first impression of you the potential employer will be viewing, printing, and circulating around the office is the one you want. Using these strategies will help you maintain your online job search momentum!


About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

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