Restaurants fail often. 60% of the time, that new restaurant down the street won't be open next year. One in five won't make it half a decade.
Switching careers isn't as daunting but many give up their quest for a career change when things don't work out right away. When it comes to the failure of restaurants, though, there's a decent amount of research on why they fail. Plus, there's always chef Robert Irvine of "Restaurant: Impossible."
Irvine isn't shy about sharing his wisdom around why restaurants usually sink rather than swim. Applying Irvine's observations to the difficult task of changing careers and make the seemingly impossible possible.
Nail the Basics
For the aspiring restaurateur, sometimes the concept and potential ranks ahead of basics like the cost of doing business or the efficiency of the kitchen. No matter how good the idea or the level of passion or talent the restaurant owner possesses, not knowing the basics sinks many great ideas.
The same can happen when attempting to change careers. Sure, you have the passion and desire to seek out a new career but is it really for you? Find out if the fundamentals of the career are something you can do on a daily basis. Also, find out the basics of the career so you can speak to it in a cover letter or interview.
Unlike, the restaurant owner who is unlikely to get help from his future competitors, most people are willing to talk about their career. This gives you the opportunity to get a realistic picture of a day in the life to see how your transferable skills fit and if you can handle the most mundane details of the job you seek.
Limit the "Menu"
New struggling restaurants often roll out an overloaded menu. Irvine's typical advice is one page is plenty. A focus on the most desirable menu items gives the restaurant the best chance to impress new customers.
The same challenge faces the career hopper. When faced with a job description with multiple bullet points, it's easy to fall into the trap of trying to address every point in a cover letter. However, your best qualities could get lost in the message. Don't rely on the talent seeker to wade through the information and hit them with the most compelling reasons to consider you.
Poor Quality Control = Bad First Impression
The day-to-day operation of a restaurant can become robotic. Most think repetition leads to perfection but it can lead to, as Irvine says, "steps being skipped and key ingredients missed over a period of time."
Your job hunt can fall victim to "de-evolution" as well. In the beginning, the resume is double and triple checked and the cover letter is given the once over. As time progresses, there's less focus on that first impression.
Update the resume frequently. Read old cover letters and look for red flags. If you were the hiring manager, would you call the person described in the cover letter? If not, address the issues before your next attempt.
Accept the Risk
It's easy to ignore the daunting figures mentioned earlier. Most new restaurant owners focus on being the 20% that succeed rather than the 80% who fail because, heck, who wants to be pessimistic when it comes to embarking on such an endeavor.
The same goes for the potential career change but when Walmart claims to be more elite than Harvard when it comes to "getting in" what chance do you have to switch to a career where others already have established experience in the field?
Find a happy medium between the eternal optimism and data-induced pessimism. Know why others have failed to avoid their mistakes and ultimately be successful.