Moving into a new career or industry can be daunting, and it can be tempting to put it off by saying you don’t have the right skills. But you don’t necessarily have to have trained or worked in an industry to get a job in it. By showcasing your transferable skills and your passion you can convince a potential employer to take a chance on you.
Leah Lambart, a career coach with Relaunch Me, shares five key tactics that will help you impress a potential employer in a new industry.
- Research the industry or role you’re interested in.
Whether you’re looking at changing roles or industries, you need to understand the industry and get a true sense of what it involves and the skills and attributes that are required to be successful in it.
Lambart recommends reading industry blogs and newsletters, attending industry events and setting up a search alert on SEEK to get an understanding of the key responsibilities and selection criteria of the roles you’re interested in. “This will allow you to evaluate the transferable skills that you have, and to identify gaps in your skill set that you need to address before attempting to make a career change.”
You could also use networking sites to identify and contact people working in your area of interest. “The majority of people are happy to help, provided that the request is completed in a professional and courteous manner. A face-to-face informational interview will give you insights that simply can’t be obtained online.”
- Highlight transferable skills from your previous career or industry.
“Don’t underestimate the skills you have, even if you have been in the same role for many years or out of the workforce,” Lambart says. “Many skills are transferable across industries, particularly for roles that require ‘soft or non-technical skills’ such as communication skills, organisational skills, relationship-building skills, negotiation and problem-solving skills.”
The onus is on you – not the potential employer – to make the connection between your experience and the new career or role you want. But if you can articulate your transferable skills to a potential employer (using specific examples), and clearly state how you can utilise these transferable skills to help the employer, you will greatly increase your chances of moving into a new role or industry.
- Upskill to increase your opportunities.
Once you have identified which skills you need to obtain or update, the next step is to actually obtain them. “Free or inexpensive online courses may be a great option for gaining industry knowledge or technical skills without having to enrol in an expensive and time-consuming post-graduate course. Attending seminars, webinars and industry meetups are also great ways to get up to speed with industry and technology updates.”
By taking a short course you will not only increase your skills, but also boost your confidence and build important new networks, Lambart says. “Completing a short course will also signal to employers that you are proactive and serious about relaunching your career in that particular field.”
- Showcase your passion by volunteering and meeting people.
While a lot can be achieved online, it’s important to get out into the real world and tell people what you’re trying to achieve. Lambart says the key is to talk to people in different industries.
“Talk to people in your network and look for opportunities to meet with people outside of your network. If you are a social worker keen to make a career change, then it’s no use talking only to your social work colleagues and connections. Get out and meet new people in different industries and find out what they do.”
Volunteering can also be useful if it’s strategically done and tailored to your area of interest. This will allow you to acquire additional skills, learn about a new company or industry, expand your networks and potentially open up pathways to paid work. “It will also allow you to showcase your passion and commitment to potential employers.”
- Tailor your resume and cover letter to your desired role or industry.
“If you’re planning to transition into a new career or industry then it’s very likely that your current resume won’t cut it. Your resume needs to be far more compelling when changing careers to get you in front of potential employers,” Lambart says.
“Recruiters and hiring managers need to be able to clearly see your motivation for changing careers and the key transferable skills and attributes that you can offer. If these details are hidden away in your resume then it’s more than likely you’ll end up on the ‘no’ pile.” So make sure to put your transferable skills front and centre!