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Can You Successfully Change Industries?


Changing industries is increasingly common as globalization ties not just countries, but sectors closer together. If you are considering a career in a new field, here are areas of consideration to ensure you approach the shift strategically and gracefully.

  1. Who: Audience. Thoroughly researching a company is essential for any resume and cover letter. This is doubly important when looking at a different sector. Before applying to a position you must research the industry, company, and position. Ask yourself the hard questions: am I really equipped for this job? Why am I considering the job change? What will be the steepest learning curve?

In your research, be sure to cover the following:

  1. Jargon. Potential employers are going to be concerned that you have insurmountable experience gaps. The quickest way to prove them right is by not being conversant in the terms of the industry.

  2. Trends. What changes have happened to the industry in recent years? What new approaches are en vogue?

  3. Challenges. What are the biggest threats facing the industry? How are your skills assets to the company in overcoming them?

  4. What: Accomplishments. Reflect on your career. What are your significant achievements? How can they be described in universal terms that appeal across sectors (better yet, that specifically apply to the intended industry)? Accomplishments are concrete demonstrations that you get things done. Be sure to capture the momentum in how you present them.

  5. How: Skills. This is the heart of applying across industries. All jobs utilize skills. Break your performance down into the specific skills you’ve developed. Describe them relative to the results they’ve produced (the accomplishments you listed) for a cohesive narrative. Use vibrant and engaging language to describe your traits. Don’t forget to include soft skills such as teamwork and people skills.

  6. Why: Values. What drives you? The reasons for changing industries that you identified will come into play here. What are the core values that undergird your pursuits? How do those resonate with the industry and company you are seeking to join?

Remember that confidence and ambition are the essential skills for every job. Approach your sector change with these and you can be successful.

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