The name of the game in switching roles or industries is transferable skills. Learn to identify which of your skills are transferable. Plus, uncover how you can prepare for an interview or discussion about a role that is somewhat foreign to you.
- My favorite emails are ones where former job seekers tell me they switched industries and got their next gig. I've seen a marketer enter the field of instructional design, a hardware engineer go into firmware and then software, a project manager go into general management, and many other transformations. First, know it's possible to reinvent your career. The name of the game in switching roles or industries is transferable skills. Get out a sheet of paper or use the notes tool below and write down all the skills you have and how strong they are, a one to five rating is fine.
Now re-read the list and be honest with yourself. Are you good at managing project details and budgets or slipshod? Is your leadership something people commend you on or an area where you get a lot of feedback? Are your Java skills current or are you rusty? Once you have a good handle on these skills, you need to put together the story of why you're switching roles or industries. Perhaps you want a new challenge or maybe the pay is better, or you're going to go back to a childhood passion, or toward an industry that's booming. Whatever it is, build the bridge from where you've been to where you're headed.
Maybe you're a hardware engineer looking to move into data analytics. You've got the quant background and the math skills, but you haven't used SCALA, or R, or Tableau, or done any of the business operations or presentation work. You've got to fill in the gaps for potential hiring managers. Why should they take a chance on a hardware engineer moving to data? Ask yourself what questions a recruiter would want to ask to see if you can ball in the data world. They might want to see evidence of additional education, side projects, or recommendations on your math skills and your profile.
Update that LinkedIn profile to list the skills you'll need for the next job and look for recommendations along these lines. Don't be afraid to enroll in educational endeavors that signal your commitment to this new direction. Brand yourself on the resume as having the best of both worlds, where you've been and where you're headed. Know that you're going to need to work harder than people who are classically trained. What will your unique edge be? You'll need to find one to set yourself up for success. You can also do informational interviews and lots of research to learn the lingo of your next role so you speak the right language when you're interviewing.
There's a popular meme with a recruiter telling a candidate that his salary expectations were really high and he says, "Yeah, because I don't know what I'm doing." Don't let this be you, make sure you do as much prep as possible to come across as the clear choice for this exciting new role.
- Setting job hunting objectives
- Writing a compelling resume and cover letter
- Tailoring your approach
- Finding the right jobs
- Reentering the workforce
- Identifying which of your skills are transferable
- Excelling in a phone or video interview
- Negotiating a job offer