Friday, March 11, 2011

Six Tips You Need to Know Before Changing Industries

By Dawn Rasmussen

Let’s face it:  the days when professionals slogged away in one profession or job are long gone.  Today’s work force is now highly motivated, mobile, and extremely transient.  Various numbers being tossed around these days range from five to eight years at a single position before employees start poking around for new opportunities.

Oftentimes, this can mean a lot of inter-industry switches.  You simply trade one company or organization for another while moving up.  Usually, however, you stay within the same field.

But what happens when the field you are in is in the midst of a major upheaval or is even (gasp) dying?

Or, for many people, it’s:  what does one do when you just get plain bored?

Understanding the transferable skill sets you have in your career arsenal are pivotal to whether you can make an effective leap between entirely different fields.  Many people have interest in other areas but completely lack the building blocks to make a transition to an entirely different sector.

What happens then is like watching a train wreck in slow motion:  the person wants a job in the new field so badly that they end up convincing themselves that their qualifications match, when in fact, they do not.  I call this career blindness.  They simply can’t see they aren’t even remotely qualified.

The end result is that the job seeker beats their head against a brick wall and doesn’t understand that they haven’t matched their background in terms of “apples to apples” to the job opening.

The clarity in making a strong case for an employer to hire you comes from understanding the top six things you’ll need to know before changing industries.

1) Make sure your skill sets match. Focus on the function of what you do to uncover the transferable skill s.  Be brutally honest with yourself.  Do you have what the employer is asking for in that particular industry?  The Wall Street Journal recently had a recent article stating that even if you are 80% qualified, the people who are getting the jobs are 110% qualified.  Think twice if you are “kind of” qualified and be confident your core transferable skill sets are deep enough to actually do the job.
2) Back out of the industry specific jargon. Nothing destroys a résumé and a job seeker’s prospects when making a jump to an entirely different field when the document is muddied with a lot of industry specific jargon.  Remember to “speak” the language of your target employer and only talk about what is relevant to them.
3) Assess your network. This is a good time to do a self-diagnosis of your connections.  Are your contacts all concentrated in one industry?  Now would be the time to start breaking out of the mold and stretching into new territory close to your new career destination.

Tips 4 - 6 and Complete Article

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