5 Tips for Successfully Changing Industries

Market your transferable skills and experience to show employers you are ready to succeed.

HIRE EXPERIENCE     |    Sep. 03, 2019


1. Know why you want to move

Before you make up your mind to change industries, you need to know why you want to move in the first place. Do you want to take on more responsibility? Work in a different environment? Narrow down the list of industries you're interested in that would allow you to do this.


When discussing your reasons for change, try to be as concrete as possible, advises Sébastien Pottier, director of talent acquisition, and always focus on the "positive levers" for change.

2. Research your new industry


To get the scoop about your new industry, "get in touch with your network," says Pottier. Those who are already in the industry can tell you what it's really like and what you need to succeed. They can also point you in the direction of opportunities to gain more exposure to potential companies and jobs.


Savita Mittra, talent acquisition director in Asia Pacific area, recommends doing in-depth research about the industry, too. "Find out about the top 10 companies … within that industry and their value proposition," she says.


3. Make two lists of skills


First, list your strengths and skills. Based on your research of the industry, consider how you can apply these skills to specific roles.


Next, list the skills you need to develop. Look at job requirements for roles of interest and identify how you can gain the experience necessary to grow these skills. That may mean taking a class or finding a part-time job or volunteer position that allows you to learn and apply new skills.

4. Prepare specific examples


Show how your skills apply to the new industry. Your potential employers may not be familiar with the industry you have experience in, so focus on the similarities and provide specific examples.


"If you say you have great communication skills, you need to show us the types of experiences that you've had specifically that highlight that skill," explains Bryan Quick, senior manager in university relations.


5. Update Your brand


The final step to successfully change industries is articulating your skills in your resume and social networking profile, including examples that validate them, says Mittra.


One crucial aspect to nailing your new professional marketing is using the right terms. For example, your new industry may use "clients" instead of "customers." Familiarize yourself with the language nuances of the industry.


Tap into your network as this stage, too. They can point out skills you may have overlooked, review your updated resume and profile for any red flags, and vouch for your qualifications when you need references.