Here's how to get into an industry you hadn't considered

Are you sick of missing out on roles in your industry? Are you losing motivation to do your work? Are you feeling an itch to try something new? Maybe it’s time to consider how transferable your skillset is, and which new industries your skills can help you break in to.

  • How to decide on where to go. Business Manager for Madison Recruitment in Christchurch, Eve Sinclair-Thomson, says that since the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011, there has been a significant shift in employers’ willingness to think outside the box when selecting candidates.. “More than ever, employers deem skills and attributes as more important than industry experience when hiring new employees.”

    With this in mind, there’s a greater chance to achieve new goals and change direction, but this needs to begin with a clear motivation. Whether you want to make money, change the world, be professionally respected, have more time to spend with your family and friends, or all of the above, you need to consider the key drivers of your decision making.

    If the role or industry you’re looking to break into will feed your passions and give you a sense of accomplishment, then it’s time to start digging into your personal toolbox of transferable skills.
  • How to identify your transferable skills. Sinclair-Thomson says, “As recruitment professionals, we work to highlight our candidates’ transferable skills to our clients.”

    “One recent example of this is a candidate who had come from a large finance company in the UK. As a Trade Processing Administrator, she had worked in a demanding, fast-paced and often stressful environment, coordinating a team of high achieving professionals. It was this experience that demonstrated the candidate’s resilience, time management and communication skills, all of which were transferable into a role as Recruitment Coordinator in a specialist division of the public health sector. She has been in the role now for over six months, and for both my client and the candidate this has been the perfect fit.”

    In the same spirit, think about all of the skills you’ve acquired over your schooling and working life ­– whether interpersonal skills, technical skills, analytical skills or organisational skills – and how they can be applied to a different role or industry.

    If you identify yourself as cool-headed under pressure, perhaps you’d thrive as a care worker or in the fast-paced world of sales? If you’ve got great conversational skills and love meeting new people, would hair and beauty, or a busy office support role take you out of the environment you’re in? Do a thorough job search on SEEK to find out what skills are being requested for various professions.
  • How to make the change into a new industry. If you aren’t ready to take a full leap, there are always ways to dip your toes into new waters. Many businesses offer volunteer or intern positions to help you learn the ropes and help you figure out if the passion is really there. For industries where skills are fixed or absolutely required by candidates (such as medicine, trades or web development), there are many courses to dive into.

As a new year approaches, think about what core skills you’ve gained during education, from your colleagues, and through your work. Sinclair-Thomson says, “Ensure you don’t just list your experience. Take the time to identify what contributed to your success in past roles. Being specific about the reasons why helps you to identify the skills and competencies that you developed.” 

“Your passions can be as much personal as they are professional. Do you want to help people, make money, change the world, be professionally respected, have time to spend with your family and friends, or all of the above? These key drivers must be a big part of your decision making,” says Easson.