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    How To Change Industries (And Mistakes To Avoid)

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    The Great Resignation, coupled with recent waves of mass layoffs, may have you considering a career in a new industry. The tech industry in particular is experiencing a surge of job applicants. As a high tech career coach, I am seeing more job seekers than ever before attempting to break into tech and similar industries experiencing rapid growth.

    However, switching industries can feel intimidating. This is particularly true if you have limited experience in said industry. Is it possible to change industries? How do you make the switch? What mistakes should you look out for when transitioning to a new industry or field?

    How To Change Industries In 4 Steps

    In this article, I share four proven tips to guide you in successfully making the switch to a new industry. I also highlight mistakes to avoid as you navigate the transition.

    1. Identify your target industry.

    Begin by clarifying your target industry. Additionally, see if there is an overlap or “lily pad industry” between your current industry and target industry. If you are currently in finance but want to break into tech, for example, you may want to pursue the fintech industry. And, if you are unsure of what industries to target, try asking a few trusted colleagues, peers, or family members what industries they can imagine you working.

    2. Decide a target job function.

    Once you identify a target industry, you want to move a level deeper and identify a target job type. This is an important step as job functions and titles will often vary between industries. One company may call it “Human Resources,” for instance,” while another may use, “People Operations.” With this in mind, also consider the level of roles and total compensation you are targeting. Again, you may want to take a “lily pad role” to bolster your resume and increase the likelihood of a successful transition.

    3. Identify what makes you fabulous.

    Next, you want to identify what makes you fabulous. In other words, you want to determine what sets you apart from other applicants. Many job seekers will hide the fact they are switching industries. As a job search expert who specializes in career transitions, I advise against this practice. Instead, consider calling attention to your diverse industry experience. Explain on your resume and LinkedIn profile as well as in interviews how your unique background is an asset to your prospective employer.

    4. Network your way into the industry.

    Now, you are ready to begin networking and applying to jobs. I am a proponent of using LinkedIn to connect with people in your target role at your dream companies. You can use the platform to request informational interviews to learn more about the company and culture. If the conversations go well, you can request additional information about the internal referral process and/or an introduction to a hiring manager. 

    Mistakes To Avoid When Changing Industries

    Changing industries is possible, even if you have little or no experience. However, there are a few potential roadblocks you want to look out for when making a transition to a new industry or field.

    First, you want to avoid making too many transitions at once. In most cases, you will want to stick with one transition at a time. Let’s say your goal is to secure a bigger title and switch industries; focus on switching industries first, then aim for that bigger title second, or vice versa. This will make your transition more likely.

    Next, get specific with what you want. While some job seekers resort to a haphazard approach and apply to as many job openings as possible, I am a proponent of specificity. Create a dream company list where you begin manifesting your target employers. Be as specific as possible with what you need and want in your next job. 

    Finally, practice patience as you look for your new job. Keep in mind that switching industries takes time, energy, and effort. With the right strategy and plan, you can successfully land a job in another industry. You’ve got this!

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