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Never forget where you come from!

Published on 30 October 2019

Reading time 4 minutes

Regardless of the job, all of our experiences teach us something. We learn new skills, we meet interesting people, we learn to be professional and above all, we get to know ourselves. And even if the experience did not go quite as planned, learning from mistakes is also about learning and gaining experience.

And that goes for all jobs!  Nurse, community manager, cashier, salesman, construction draftsman, pastry chef, waiter, order picker, etc...

In a labour market that is accelerating and changing, a question is increasingly raised: After a professional reconversion, how can previous experiences in different fields be valued?  For example, how can I value 7 years of optical experience in an interview for a first job as a web developer?

The answer may surprise you, however... that's precisely your strength!

Let me explain ;)

Make your career transition an asset (by first convincing yourself!)

It is always very difficult to start from scratch and feel legitimate in what you are doing. 

I spoke with Sylène, a former nurse who became a web developer, who explained to me:

"I knew I had to get out of this nursing job, I was bored. I had to move on. I needed to find something that would allow me to evolve and learn new things all the time. Hence programming! My experience as a nurse has allowed me to have a sense of urgency and to be able to work in a team. But also to never give up and always move forward. These are valuable skills that I use on a daily basis in my new job.

Feeling legitimate as a developer wasn't easy at first, there were big moments of doubt but always marked by successes in my code. And I knew this job was right for me! My first big victory: to receive a message on LinkedIn on the evening of the last day of the training programme and after several months of research! I'm now an intern at AudioWizard and feeling fulfilled as a junior developer!"

You want to change career and you are still wondering what could help you stay on track with your new project? Know that you're not alone in this mess! Talk to people who have successfully completed their professional transition, they will always be good advice, and above all, they understand you, they will be able to guide you and reassure you.

If you are transitioning to web development, you can for example read Wilders' testimonials here.

Identify the skills you have acquired 

When you embark on your career transition, you must review each of your experiences in order to identify your specific skills (customer relations, project management, good communication, budget management, etc...). When you are looking for a position or clients for your new activity, this is one of the things that will differentiate you from other candidates.

Here are some examples to help you get started:

  • You were a manager for 10 years at McDonald's? so you certainly have a sense of organisation, you are certainly good in: management, team management, communication, and especially customer relations. If you managed stock deliveries, it could help you manage the delivery and implementation of a web project for your future business.
  • You were a film projectionist? You are probably organised and on time, disciplined, vigilant and cautious and above all curious: you keep yourself informed of the technical developments in the profession. 

Put forward the right arguments

Now that you have identified the skills you have acquired, you will need to think about which ones will be useful in your new job.

Think carefully and prepare your arguments: make the connections with your old missions, your know-how, etc....

Show that you know what you're talking about and don't be ashamed of your journey, it brought you here, it's not for nothing ;) 

Don't forget what makes you different from a young student graduating from a Master's degree in programming, it is above all your professional MA-TU-RI-TY. Professional reconversion has many advantages, it's up to you to bring them out! 

So boost your self-confidence, take the time to bring out all the skills you have learned and that will make your future employer happy!