If you have ever learned a foreign language, you know that fluency doesn’t happen overnight. You must work at it – regularly. Shifting to a new industry takes the same kind of effort. I advise my clients to allow 6 months – and if the pandemic lingers on, maybe more. Americans successfully change industries 3-6 times over their lifetimes and hold a dozen or so jobs. If you are attempting the same – whether out of necessity or choice – here are a few tips to help you show up prepared to solve some problems. (That’s what connecting with a new job is about. Right?)
- Track the big picture. You could read business newsletters, listen to podcasts while you exercise, join professional organizations, track on FB and Twitter, and follow consultancies such as McKinsey & Company, BCG, PwC, Deloitte, and EY. When I started career coaching for an international business school, I read the Boston Business Journal on the train daily getting up to speed on business trends. I kept a (massive!) document for terminology I encountered within industries I advised.
- Talk with your network. Find out the pain points of your targeted companies. What specific problems are they facing based upon their size, location, business climate, etc.? You may also discover what training or experience is most valuable to them and how you can best be of help to them.
- Take classes & trainings. Highly esteemed, well-recognized certifications and bachelor’s or master’s degree in your new field make it easiest to get into your new industry. But MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and other free or low-cost courses can give you the knowledge you need. Completing a volunteer or paid project can prove that you have mastered the skills and you are ready-to-go. My clients pursuing Program Management certifications – a growing skill need in many industries – find success in demonstrating to their employers that they already can do the job through completion of a successful project.
- Scan your background carefully. If you have small business or community organization experience, journal or discuss with a friend or coach to retrieve stories to tell of similar work you completed that contributed to your community or business’s success. Include experience with class projects or school organization involvement, too.
- Update your Résumé and LinkedIn Profile. A passive way to gain interest by others in your field is to connect and engage with you in conversation is to include skills and knowledge along with stories of success in your branding documents. As a professional branding specialist, I review résumés and LinkedIn profiles or write a Master Résumé for clients in all fields. Tips here.