Career Tip of the Week: Relating Past Experiences When Changing Careers

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Interested in changing careers? Changing careers could be one of the best decisions you make in your life. It may also be one of the more difficult things you will do. Creating a self-inventory and doing some basic preparation can make a big difference in the way you view yourself and as a result how others see you.

Focus on your transferable skills. These are skills you have used at any and every job or situation you have been in, including volunteer work and school. Keeping in mind that these are the skills you could use regardless of what company you worked at, or what position you are applying for.

Let’s say for example you want to move from the auto repair field to something more clerical or in human resources. You have experience with the breakdown of a vehicle are aware of the value automotive service technicians and mechanics provide. Excellent reasoning skills and an understanding of vehicles is necessary for a technician to rapidly and precisely identify the problem. Diagnosing illusive problems proves to be challenging, but also provides a great deal of satisfaction.

When you are composing your cover letter and resume, you need to sit down and think about the skills you have learned and used and how they can apply to your new career field. In this example your auto repair organizational skills and problem solving are extremely important and are skills that can easily be molded into the behind-scenes day-to-day running of a dealership. Also make sure you can show examples of past successes, you will have a better chance of showing the interviewer that you have used similar skills in past jobs, even if the job duties are different.

The next key to success is to review the job descriptions of the types of jobs you are considering. How does your education and experience match up with the requirements? Can you position yourself to fit these requirements? If not, you may need to take some additional courses or look at different types of jobs.

From here, find what makes you unique? Think about your personality and your personal traits. One of the things that the interviewer is looking for is “someone to fit in” – who is likeable with the ability to work well with other team members. Your personal traits could be the tie-breaker between you and an equally qualified candidate. Think of at least five personal traits that make you unique. Some examples that Penske Automotive Group always like in candidates are: friendly, flexible, quick learner, reliable, responsible, detail-oriented and loyal.

Once you have established what you have to offer, you will begin to see the value you can bring to the job. When you believe in yourself and the fact that you have something of value to offer, it will be easier to show confidence and to convince the employer that you can do the job.

Finally, get the scoop, talk with people who currently have jobs that are similar to what you want to be doing, are supervising people who are doing the type of job you want to be doing, or have made similar career transitions. We call these informational interviews, and they are an extremely valuable resource for gaining knowledge, making contacts, and networking.

These tips were brought to you by PAG Careers:

Penske Automotive Group has a variety of positions and career paths nationwide.  In addition to the employee benefit programs offered by our company, Penske Automotive Group consists of a diverse group of 170 dealerships and franchises operating throughout 17 states where you can begin an exciting career. We combine this scale with a culture of integrity and customer satisfaction to create the most outstanding benefit of all – the opportunity to grow.

PAG benefits include programs to ensure the well-being of you and your family, such as, Medical and Dental coverage (including Vision and RX), Life Insurance, 401(k) with Company Match, Flexible Spending Accounts, Employee Assistance Program and generous Paid Time Off Policies.

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