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How to sell yourself when changing industries


You’ve likely heard that tempting voice whispering to quit your job, change it all up, and follow your dreams at some point in your career. Some people answer that call, but many do not.

Why is that?

It might be your lacking confidence to start from scratch. You might think your skills or education levels aren’t good enough to take you where you’re dreaming. Or maybe the idea of trying something new is just too terrifying.

Whatever reason you are considering changing industries, it’s important to know some steps you can take to create a competitive advantage for yourself to crack into a new business, a new role, or even a new life.

Here are 7 ways to sell yourself when changing industries.

1. Figure out what it is you are looking for

Take a hard look at what’s going on in your professional life, and ask yourself those hard questions.

  • How does my current job make me feel?
  • What about my work do I enjoy?
  • What is it about my job that frustrates me?
  • How do I want this to change?

When considering these tough questions about what appeals and what doesn’t, try writing these answers down to better understand how you’re feeling. These answers will paint a better picture of what job satisfaction looks like for you.

Use these answers to consider how your current skills, education, and experiences contributed to past career successes. Then consider how these same skills can benefit you when changing industries.

2. Make an action plan

To set the stage for success in a new job search when changing industries, consider doing a personal assessment to give you better self-awareness about a potential new career.

This could be in the form of a professional SWOT analysis, taking a standardised test, journaling, or getting advice or feedback from friends, family, and mentors.

Once you’ve done enough self-assessment, make a list of goals for your job search. These goals will be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely to keep you focused and strategic during your job hunt.

3. Research potential careers and job matches

Make sure you are clear on what type of career you are looking for, why you want to pursue it, and what transferable skills make you stand out.

A focused job search will help you make sense of what you are looking for and keep you from becoming overwhelmed with options. Having a plan keeps you on track when trying to navigate changing industries.

4. Consider rebranding yourself

New career, new you! Sort of.

Changing industries is about finding the relevant skill you have now and showcasing them in a way that is relevant to the industry you want to work in. And it’s essential to use every resource you have available.

Your resume, cover letter, and social profiles (like LinkedIn) all help create your personal brand. Make sure you emphasise the skills you will bring when changing industries instead of focusing on what makes you a great worker in your previous one.

Rebranding yourself for a career change is a great strategy to help align your current experience and transferable skills with your desired goals.

Think about how your existing experiences make you a better choice for the role you’re applying for. Then, use that to make a powerful personal statement about why you’re the right choice for the job.

5. Upgrade your education or skills

With the constant move towards increased digitisation and continually changing technology, keeping your learning and skills up to date is helpful when selling yourself as an asset when changing industries.

Upgrade your education or relevant skills through continuing education courses or even free online classes. These options will bring you up to speed on the new industry you’re trying to enter.

If you haven’t switched industries yet and are still employed, find opportunities at your current job to gain the skills needed to successfully make a career change.

And even if you didn’t take a STEM course in school, there are still a variety of positions available, so just look for a role that best suits your skills or interests.

Stand out from the crowd and invest in your ongoing personal development.

6. Tailor your resume to your new industry

After investing in upgrading your skills, education, and experiences, it’s time to reflect them on your resume.

Even if you don’t have the direct experience needed for the new industry you want to be a part of, you probably have a lot of transferable skills.

Transferable skills are important to highlight and include time management, communication, leadership, and the ability to solve complex problems.

Figure out the in-demand transferable skills in your preferred industry, then make them stand out on your resume. But you will need to show them instead of just telling them by using hard numbers and facts.

For example, if you managed a big project that is relevant to the new industry you’re applying for, consider including something like, “I successfully led a team of five colleagues on a launch campaign for a new product that resulted in a 30% increase in sales.”

If you need help with your resume, try using our top 10 resume-writing tips to help you get started.

7. Network, network, network

Finding a new job is all about who you know. But what if you don’t know anyone in your new industry?

You can network anywhere! Consider looking up industry-specific opportunities, like corporate or networking events, volunteering, fundraisers, community events, and even hobby or fitness groups.

Networking can be a fun, professional way to expand your industry connections, but there is some unspoken etiquette to follow:

  1. Be polite
  2. Don’t ask for introductions
  3. Be considerate of other people’s time
  4. Don’t ask for a job right away
  5. Respect boundaries
  6. Keep in touch
  7. Make sure to say “thank you” after sharing a conversation

Networking is a skill that comes down to feeling comfortable being your true, authentic self. You never know who you’re going to meet, so take advantage of the potential to network anywhere.

Need help changing industries?

Effectively selling yourself when changing industries can be an overwhelming task if you don’t know where to start. These tips are the first step along your journey towards career satisfaction.

Whatever your reasons for changing industries – reducing stress, getting a better salary, improving work-life balance, or trying something new – we can help you make the transition.

Connect with one of our recruiters to help you make that first step.

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