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Use Transferable Skills To Get Your Dream Job Without Field Experience

Yetunde wanted to become a product manager at a tech company but she has spent her entire career at an art gallery. She was surfing the internet while job searching and there it is: the dream job.

She was very excited until she found the requirements. At first glance, based on her degree or work experience, this role was out of reach. Many are in the same position as Yetunde. But before you give up, though, know that's not always the end of the story. You can use transferable skills to get the job you desire but dont have field experience.

Remember that the best product managers are well-rounded, and that's true for most roles.

Also note that there is a huge difference between not being qualified and having strong transferable skills that you're not even aware of.

Here's how someone who wants to change careers can decipher.

Ask Yourself Tough Questions

What good things would past supervisors and coworkers say about me? What about friends, mentors, or professors? Who else thinks I'm awesome — and why?

How have I contributed measurable results in the past?

How have I contributed beyond what's easy to measure? Am I a natural leader? Have I served on a company culture committee? Have I won awards?

What have I accomplished that is generally seen as good, even if it seems unrelated to the role?

How have I failed spectacularly in the past? Count this as a win too, because a willingness to stick your neck out can be a win if positioned properly (this is especially true in tech).

To get the full story of what your dream role entails

Get a better sense of if you could actually do it — speak with friends (or friends of friends) who excel in positions similar to the one you want.

To get beyond the job description, ask a lot of questions. Some good ones include, "What do the very best people in this role do that the average ones don't?" and "What's required of this role that [company] wouldn't actually say out loud?" Sniff for the unspoken (and potentially more important) requirements.

Highlight the traits most relevant for the role

Do a comprehensive list of what you can do and a long list of everything the company needs in a top hire for the role. Your next step is to draw parallels. Can you measure up?

Write Down Your Experience/accolades/past wins

Check in with someone knowledgeable who'll tell you the truth

If you've done the research and think you're a uniquely qualified candidate (as opposed to an unqualified one). There's one more step before you begin your application: Reach out to your knowledgeable contacts and ask them for honest feedback.

Then apply for the job

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