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Considering Switching to a New Industry? Follow These Steps.

by Kathy Seaton

If you’re in the market for a new job, it’s worth considering how your experience can be transferable to other industries. Many of us feel like we’ve become stagnant, doing the same thing every day, and hoping for different results. We may even feel like our expertise is stale, and that we can’t compete against a strong talent pool. Although it is more difficult to change industries, the opportunity to find an organization that shares your values, with a mission you can get behind, will reengage you and restore the belief that your work makes an impact. First, you need to understand that your skills are extremely transferable, and second, have the courage to put yourself out there.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

Get Up to Speed.

Start by identifying the industries that you would like to work in. Then do your homework and find out which industry is growing, understand the trends, learn the buzzwords, read the industry trades, and determine which companies are leading the market. Study company websites and social media pages, learn about their brand promise and corporate culture, and get to know the leadership team. Talk to your friends, family, and professional contacts who are already working for the companies that you are interested in.

Find out if it’s important to the industry to have a certification under your belt. For example, is the industry standard requirement for project managers a Project Management Professional (PMP) designation? If so, make an investment in continuing education courses and programs to prepare yourself to sit for the exam.

Make New Friends.

To successfully switch industries, you need to connect with like-minded people. After you have identified your companies, scan your LinkedIn network to see who you know that works for those organizations. Connect with them to get the industry scoop and find out how you can break through. Attend as many networking events as you can. The more people you meet, the better.

Identify Employers that are Seeking Your Skill Set.

Executive and senior management positions (or in fact any position) are going to take some finesse to find. Hiring is a large investment right now for businesses, and of course, HR managers are looking for a great corporate fit. Tailor your message according to the position requirements. Target employers that are a good fit for you so that you don’t accept a position that is too challenging or might result in failure.

Showcase Your Transferable Skills.

When developing your application package (cover letter and resume) make sure that you illustrate to a potential employer how your skills are relevant in coming into a new industry. Make it clear that you can develop strategies and tactics that can impact the bottom line. And make sure to include that you’re a team player, that you can make decisions, and react quickly. 

It’s important to ensure that your resume includes the keywords listed in the job description. Companies are having a hard time getting the right people in place, and if you have the skills, it’s your job to convince them you can make the leap by having a meaningful toolkit of experience.

The key here is to be tenacious, flexible, and creative. You must position yourself and show how you can do the job and bring value to the organization even if it’s in a new industry.