Answered by Meredith, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Congratulations on pursuing your MBA- you'll have a variety of options for your next career step! There is no cookie cutter answer to your inquiry, rather, it should be a multi-pronged approach.
Definitely network with your peers. You mentioned that you know people who have done the same transition- they would be a wealth of knowledge and will be honest about the struggles they encountered.
Most importantly, utilize social media and local meet up events to leverage contacts and to get an "in" or informational interviews at the very least. Consider which types of roles you will want to pursue and then also research target industries.
Narrow it all the way down to your top 10 companies. Start with that list and try to engage with HR as well as Hiring Manager contacts in the department or roles you are interested in working with on Linkedin- remember to use a soft approach. Politely and *briefly* introduce yourself, indicate your background and how you plan on leveraging your recent education into a position and then request a few minutes of their time over coffee or a quick advice session. The worst they can say is no and you move on to something else.
A lot of career professionals will gladly give you advice or volunteer to be a mentor- chances are they were given similar coaching or opportunities in their pursuit of a role in their career at some time in the past as well. If they do not reply to your email or Linkedin request to connect, take it as a sign that they are too busy or not interested. Leave it at that and find your match in a mentor!
Speak with your professors and the career services office of your MBA program. A lot of career specialists in an educational environment would be the perfect resource to give guidance on transitioning your skill set!
MBA candidates tend to be very good at networking. See if you can go to an upcoming alumni event or connect with anyone that is in your desired future line of work. The alumni events don’t need to be related to industry, any general event attracts people with all different contacts and backgrounds- you might meet someone who can assist you or introduce you to a role you never even knew existed!
Lastly, try your hand at a consultant or temporary/freelance opportunity if you are having a difficult time obtaining a direct hire role right away. A lot of temp roles can get your foot in the door at companies you are targeting and most firms provide benefits. It’s also a great way to get positions on your resume to highlight your candidacy. You’d build manager references and gain new skills applicable to a career in business.
You can also approach your resume revision highlighting your skills in business and education, as opposed to a chronological version. There are a ton of great free resources and resume examples/templates that can be found with a simple Google search.
Best of luck as you transition- look at it positively and you’ll undoubtedly find something you are passionate about!