You finally had the "ah-ha!" moment. You don't like your job because you're not interested in the industry. Most of us don't get things perfect right off the bat, including what field piques our interest. You're ready to switch it up, but you're stuck.
You realize that you have a ton of experience in what you currently do, but no experience in the industry you want to transition into. So how do you make your professional materials work for you when you don't have the work to back it up?
Here are two strategies that you can implement simultaneously to build your experience in the industry you want to jump into.
Strategy #1: Identify transferrable skills
Make a list of the hard and soft skills that you have mastered in your current role (i.e. Hard = Accounting, Soft = Cross-departmental communication). Make a second list of the hard and soft skills you need to excel in your aspiring role.
Pro Tip: Need help thinking of skills? Look at the job description of your current role and the job you have your eye on.
Now, highlight the skills that show up on both lists. What you'll find is that you have transferrable qualities that you can feature in your professional materials with experience to back them up.You possess some of the attributes that the HR manager or recruiter are looking for in the right candidates.
You may be thinking, "I still don't have everything they want!" You're right. You don't. But what this exercise does is prove that you're not starting from scratch. Focus on the positives throughout your professional materials.
You have transferrable skills that you can feature in your professional materials.
Strategy #2: Volunteer
Honestly, volunteering is severely overlooked when it comes to building skills. Offering your time and dedication to deliver a stellar product is valuable not only for you but for the recipient getting the free goods.
If you see that you need bolster your experience with social media marketing, offer your services to a local non-profit that needs assistance with some digital PR. If you are an artist who wants to stray away from painting and tap into web design, offer a local restaurant or shop a free website redesign.
Be prepared with a strong personal sales pitch to convince someone to take a chance on you, but it's possible and you'll gain plenty of useful skills.
Consider also shadowing someone in the field you want to transition into. I understand that if you have a full-time job it may be difficult to take a day off, but if you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen. Take a sick day or vacation day and open yourself up to learning "a day in the life" of someone in the field of your choice.
Take advantage of Linkedin's robust network of professionals. Search for who works at companies you're interested in working for in the future and see if any of them would be willing to show you the ropes. You'll never know what's possible if you don't ask.
Sarah Sax is the founder of Write For The Job.