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Tips for Moving from the Public to Private Sector

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There are a number of advantages to holding a government job, often times including a comprehensive benefits package, competitive pay and various paid holidays. However, for many, there comes a time when working for a private company seems to be a better option. Whether it’s to pursue career growth, start your own company or try something totally new, there are some things you should be aware of that will help to ease your transition. Follow these tips for moving from the public to private sector, and you will soon find yourself adjusting well to a new normal.

Choose Opportunities Strategically

When submitting resumes, be sure to think strategically about the kind of private sector organization would be your best fit. Corporate culture can play a big role in your level of job satisfaction. Consider what you enjoy most about your current work environment and look for employers that offer similar aspects. In addition, study the job description of potential positions. Determine whether your skill set would transition well into the new gig.

Learn About the Differences

Talk to some of your friends or family members who are employed by private companies, particularly if it’s been awhile since you’ve worked outside of the public sector. Find out how the structure of their employers differ from that of yours. The biggest difference is likely that public business exist to make a profit while public agencies are there to serve constituents. This change in focus can lead to a completely different set of expectations for employees to navigate.

Prepare to Sell Yourself

When it comes to landing a new job in any field, one of the most important things you can do is to be able to sell yourself. This is particularly true when it comes to changing careers or transitioning from one type of employer to another. So when you’re looking to make the shift from the public to private sector, be sure to communicate the transferable skills you bring to the table, along with specific examples of your accomplishments. Both in writing on your resume and in person during the job interview, you’ll need to be able to impress prospective employers by sharing examples of how you solved problems, made contributions or demonstrated leadership. Study up on the company you’re interviewing with so that you can translate abilities gained from your government position to a spot within their organization.

Use Your networking Skills

When you first begin researching the idea of moving to a private sector job, you’ll want to reach out to your network for valuable information and advice. It’s also likely you’ll find some job leads among people in your circle. Don’t rely exclusively on your current contacts, though. Use linkedin to connect with those working in the fields that interest you. Look for new local connections through the Chamber of Commerce and professional events in your area. It’s always wise to continue networking, but it’s especially pertinent when conducting a job search.

Moving into private sector employment can be advantageous and lead to new opportunities. Studying the habits of business leaders like Bob Bratt, who worked his way up in the Department of Justice and then successfully went onto executive positions in the private sector, can give you an idea of what’s possible. Follow the tips listed here to ensure a smooth transition as you begin your next chapter.

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Good luck in your search,


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