Transitioning into a different industry can often be intimidating. Many candidates convince themselves that they do not have the right skills, experience or qualifications to pursue particular career pathways; however, this is not necessarily the case.
A lack of experience or training in a specific industry does not automatically negate employment opportunities as demonstrating transferable skills, along with enthusiasm and passion for the position, has the potential to convince a potential employer to take a chance on you.
How do you impress a potential employer in order to take that chance? Here are our top 5 tactics to implement when looking to shift into a different industry.
1. Conduct research of that industry or position
When changing industries, it is important to fully understand the position and the industry in which it resides, as well as the skills and attributes entailed in becoming successful in both.
Utilising multiple sources when conducting your research will help paint an overall picture of what to expect. A great place to start is reading industry blogs and newsletters, attending industry events and setting up jobs alerts on job search platforms. With targeted selection criteria, you are indeed able to seek specifically for roles that align with your expectations as well as gain insight into key responsibilities of certain roles that spark your interest. Research also helps in evaluating what transferrable skills you already have and identifies any gaps within your skill set that you may need to address before pursuing a career change.
2. Focus on transferable skills
It’s significantly important to never undervalue the skill set you currently have from previous industries and employments. Numerous skills are transferrable across different industries, including basic communication, organisational and problem-solving skills. One way to demonstrate your transferrable skills is to use specific examples. Clearly and confidently articulate how effective these skills have been in previous employment as well as how they apply to the new role and industry. This can be highly persuasive in helping your potential employer consider you over candidates more experienced in the industry and will greatly increase your chances of receiving an offer. Remember, it is up to YOU to make that connection.
3. Increase opportunities through upskilling
You may find that you lack certain required skills for an industry transfer so once you have successfully identified these, the next course of action is to seek out obtaining them. How do you go about this? There are a range of options available, which are relatively inexpensive. For example free online courses are a great way for gaining industry knowledge or technical skills, without going through the time-consuming process of enrolling into higher education.
Gaining work experience is another great upskilling tactic. Look out for companies within your chosen industry that offer internships or work experience opportunities. In undertaking these, you gain real-life, on-the-job training that could lead to potential employment opportunities within the industry. Attending networking events, workshops or seminars are also a great way in getting up to speed with industry updates. A work history of hands-on experience illustrates to your potential employer how serious and proactive you are in making a career transition into that particular field.
4. Network to meet new people
Networking can be one of the most useful tactics in successfully transferring industries. A familiar face and previous rapport can mean the difference between a foot in the door and rejection. So too, reaching out and meeting new people in your chosen industry tells your potential employer what your employment goal is. Aim to talk to as many key people in different industries and build upon your network of connections and don’t be afraid to ask them questions to find out what they do and how they first got into the industry. You can learn a lot from other people and their experiences.
5. Format your job application to the desired industry or role
When applying for a new role, the onus is on you to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the role. Tailoring your job application – including your resume, cover letter and online profile – can impact greatly on your success when applying for a new positon. Detailing transferrable skills and past work history, relevant to the role, greatly stands out to employers compared to generic resumes intended for a broad range of jobs. These are compelling to read and show your motivation behind why you are making the decision to change industries. Highlighting the key talents and abilities you can bring to the job rather than what the company can offer you will put you ahead of competing candidates and help the employer consider your application above the rest.
Changing industries can often be a difficult path to navigate; however, the benefits and rewards able to be gained from work experience across a broad range of industries far surpasses the challenge of transitioning. Using our top 5 tactics, you are able to effectively put your ‘best foot forward’ and demonstrate that your transferrable skills, determination to learn and enthusiasm for the position make you the best candidate for the job and ultimately convince an employer to take a chance on you.