woman holding a like a boss mug, career developmentIn the wake of current economic crisis with redundancies and job losses now setting in, there is certainly intrigue about what a resilient career might look like and how it’s possible to transition successfully.

Influential Tech Coach, Heather Black, considered one of the ‘Most Influential Women in Tech’ by Computer Weekly, shares her 10 tips to tackle unemployment by doing a career pivot into tech.

The latest skills survey by LinkedIn highlighted the skills companies need most in 2020 with tech at the front-front. Heather sought out a more resilient career in 2010, after her coaching business was heavily affected by changing marketing conditions and she realised she needed to explore other avenues. She had really enjoyed implementing and using Salesforce CRM to help manage her business and so she decided to upskill and pursue a new career within the tech sector, believing that this an industry that will be less affected by changing market conditions. Now 8 years in, she has built a team of 20 with multiple revenue streams, and has been able to ride the tide of Covid-19. She is passionate about helping others, especially other mums, who are at a crossroads with their career or business to see the opportunities in the tech sector, and in 2016 launched Supermums.org, where she now helps mums to upskill and follow a similar path to her.

She said: “Now, we never know what is around the corner. Lets face it, no one anticipated the wake of Covid-19, but what we can do is understand the most in-demand skills and walk towards the sectors where talent is most needed and are likely to continue to grow. My own experience saw me move from being a business coach to upskill as a business analyst and Salesforce consultant (a global CRM system) and I found this quite seamless despite having no experience in tech. I now reap the benefits of flexibility, a good salary and an exciting and rewarding career.

She continues..The ability to change career into tech might not be as daunting as it seems. If you have a background in a certain industry or sector, then its likely that you could transfer this into a specialist tech niche. For example, most industries now have a tech counterpart – whether you have worked in retail, education, events, health etc, there is likely to be a tech sector that is picking up pace. Its certainly the case with Salesforce CRM as their products align to specific industry verticals. My background was in the non-profit sector so I now help implement Salesforce for non-profits.

So how do you do it? How do you go from no tech experience to having a solid career in the industry? It’s all about capitalising on the skills and experience you have, says Heather and finding your niche in the market

  1. Do your research to help find your place – investigate what the job opportunities are by joining webinars, reading blogs, listening to podcasts, that highlight how people carved out their career in the tech space. You need to find a role that feels exciting and possible for you
  2. Use your industry experience – tech solutions sell into industry verticals – initially align yourself to a customer or consultancy that works in the industry that you have most knowledge about. It will feel comfortable as you already understand the relevant processes and performance measures and you can focus on just learning the tech
  3. Be proud of your professionals skills – Have you been a Director, Manager, Project Manager or Business Analyst in another capacity – then take these transferable skills into a new industry. You don’t necessarily have to start at the bottom and work your way up
  4. Don’t undersell soft skills – Share your experience and training in communication, facilitation, presentation, sales, team management, leadership, skills etc – these are hugely relevant skills when you are supporting teams or people to embrace tech
  5. Bridge the gap on your CV– If you have had time out to look after kids, it’s not a gap, it’s just a different type of job. Be proud of the skills you have acquired whilst managing home and kids and talk about them on your CV
  6. Tailor-make and enhance your CV – Look at job specs, talk to recruiters or training providers, do your research and plan your course of action to upskill and create a relevant CV for your target job
  7. Learn from the best – Participate in reputable quality assured training that will get the hands on experience and certifications that you need to land the job
  8. Seek out relevant experience – Research, approach companies and seek out valuable work shadowing alongside a mentor or secure volunteer experience to get first hand exposure to your new industry
  9. Secure professional references – Whether it’s from your professional trainers, mentors or work experience clients, try to get someone to oversee, assure and verify your learning and application of new skills to get relevant recommendations on LinkedIn
  10. Stay competitive – Invest the time and finance as needed to learn and secure the necessary certifications to be relevant and competitive. Don’t stop short. Starting a new career in tech will require a commitment to lifelong learning as tech continues to innovate and hiring talent is assessed on the level of their knowledge and certifications

It’s well known that there is a severe shortage of talent with digital skills and if anything, the value of tech has become even more important as we learn to thrive in a virtual world. Tech is innovating at the speed of light and it opens up a whole myriad of job opportunities from sales, marketing, leadership, project management to hands-on developer skills that people can transfer into.

In summary Heather says:

Remember changing career takes time and effort its not a quick switch. You have to be bold, determined and eager to learn. It takes a lot of guts to change careers, its like leaving school all over again. Its important to remember that tech skills werent around 20 years ago and its new for the majority.  Its never to late to change career if you put in the time and effort. Its time to put yourself into a growth mind-set, overcome your imposter syndrome and coach yourself to achieve success. Youve got this..

Heather BlackAbout the author

Heather Black is CEO of Supermums.org a global initiative which upskills new talent and places parents into flexible well-paid salesforce job roles. She is also a Salesforce Coach empowering individuals and companies with salesforce technology and leads a Salesforce Consultancy called Economic Change for the non-profit sector.

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