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Convincing Interviewer you're Serious about Career Change Mark Swartz, M.B.A. M.Ed.

About the Author

Mark Swartz, MBA, M.Ed., is Canada's Career Activist. His insights reach millions yearly as the Career Advisor, as author of the best seller "Get Wired, You're Hired," also as a professional speaker and coach on career/work issues. A former Toronto Star careers columnist, Mark's advice is forthright and practical. For Canada's biggest directory of free career articles, and for personalized coaching, please visit

Question: Hello, I have worked for a large financial services company for over 8 years in various capacities. Recently, I have come to question if I want to do this for the next 25 plus years. I have proceeded to apply and interview for various positions outside the industry. More than a few interviewers have expressed concern that I am willing to start over at a lower salary and walk away from my credentials. What is the best way to express my desire to change career without the potential employer questioning my commitment?

Rivka P, Timmins, Ontario
Dear Rivka,
Giving reassurance is, I suspect, important in your financial services position. So too is it when convincing a potential new boss that they should take you seriously in your career change.

From their point of view, you can see how the deck might be stacked against you at first. There's their whole shtick about ''I need to make sure the person can do the job, and the best way to do that is to hire someone who's just been doing precisely the same job, preferably at a company I know about.'' Talk about putting buzz kill on those transferable skills of yours.

It's time to turn things around back in your favour. You might start by demonstrating your commitment clearly. Maybe by listing some of the volunteer work you've done, or any paid assignments at all for the new area you specialize in. Or by walking the person through some examples of work you've produced, projects you've been involved with, and results generated.

You can speak to them about key trends you have read about in specialty publications and industry material. And ask a few pointed questions that show you might well know more than you're necessarily saying.

Have you mustered up some references to speak on your behalf? A letter by one of them that talks well of you in your new field, or that depicts you as someone who learns quickly, would be good as a handout in interviews. Evidence that you have successfully made changes before could be vital as well, so have a few pre-rehearsed stories to tell in this regard.

Your challenge is to grab the right hiring person's ear at the right time, and get them excited about having you work for them - by showing the difference you could make by being here. Much of the job search is about marketing and selling in these ways. I wish you the best on each facet.

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