How to transition into a new industry
Many jobs allow you to develop transferable skills, marketing, finance, law, but to name a few. More often, moving industries can really help your career if you take experience from an industry which has been through a transition to another keen to go on the same journey. This is our advice on how to transition into a new industry.
Whether it's seeking new challenges, keenness to join a faster growing sector, or simply a chance to learn, many of us at some point consider a change of direction. However, it can be hard. It’s human nature to pigeonhole people, it’s also easier to hire some from a competitor than to take a chance and think laterally. So even if you want to change industries, it’s not always easy. However, our advice is not to be put off and to create a plan to help you make your dream move.
Where do you start though? Well, with yourself. It’s important to go back to basics and to re-assess why you go to work, why you chose to go into your chosen profession, and what you’ve learnt in your career to date. This is a good thing to do every year or two, as some many people lose sight of their aims (many successful C-suite execs have five year personal goals). Think about how you really add value to a firm? What skills do you have which make you stand out? Ask current and ex-colleagues what you do well. What parts of the economy are you interested in? What parts of the economy do you feel are growing and will provide career longevity? This process will help target your job search, and it will also help you write a winning CV. Your CV should be authentic, it should highlight your achievements, but it should also convey your voice, your values, and your passions.
After you’ve started with you, start with the big picture. Our advice would be to think about the macro picture and to find an industry, which will benefit from any changes in how the way we live, work, travel, or shop. If you’re passionate about an established, lower growth industry, that’s fine too, but regardless of your choice, ensure you understand the dynamics of that industry. What drives revenue, what are the key client segments, what firms are the market leaders, what is the industry specific-jargon, what additional qualifications you may need, and what strategies have proven successful in that industry already. Nothing frustrates interviewers more than someone who doesn’t prepare for an interview, and someone who doesn’t understand the competitive landscape of their industry.
To familiarise yourself with a new industry, and to understand it better, try and speak to people already in that industry. Reach out on Linkedin - you’ll be surprised how willing people are to help! Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences, and participate in online courses related to the sector. A thorough understanding of the industry will enable you to identify opportunities and challenges specific to that field. By speaking to people who’ve worked in your target industry may reaffirm it’s for you or convince your otherwise.
Be prepared for rejection. Getting jobs gets harder as you become more experienced. You’re often asking for a higher salary, you’re often competing with sector specialists, and therefore it’s normal to encounter more rejection. As Ariana Huffington said “failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s a stepping stone to success”. Ensure your cover letter is tailored, your CV relevant, and, when you get that all important interview, prepare really well. Ensure you know the history of the company, if you can find their accounts read them beforehand, look up the management team, and always have some great questions ready for the interviewer. Be prepared to provide examples of your achievements and think about which of your transferable skills you can highlight in the meeting.
The job isn’t done either if you’re lucky enough to achieve your dream move. You will arrive with skills, with a theoretical understanding of a new industry. Whether you’re the new senior hire, or you’ve taken a step back, have the confidence to say “I don’t know”. Learn from those around you, those who do know the industry. Step back and listen and if you’re the new boss, don’t change things overnight. Take time to listen, to understand the dynamics of the firm, the strengths of your new colleagues, before embarking on any changes.
To transition into a new industry might present challenges, yet by approaching the shift armed with introspection, research and a dedication to learning, these obstacles can be navigated, and opportunities seized. Embrace the process, and remember that each step you take is getting you closer to your aims.
About Fram Professionals
Fram Professionals focuses on placing office professionals in dynamic, innovative, or venture-backed firms in the London – Oxbridge “golden triangle”. We focus on mid-to-senior permanent hires across key functions such as finance, sales & marketing, legal, and management positions.
Contact us on [email protected] or call 01525 864 372 for an informal chat about our services.
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