How to Make an Industry Change

Many of my clients are hesitant about making industry changes, and I don’t blame them. Taking a huge leap of faith and hoping that you’ll come out okay on the other side can be challenging. I find that this tends to lead to a lot of self-doubt, which can cripple your job search more than anything else. Am I good enough? Do I have the right skills? What if I don’t like my new job after all this effort?

This fear of rejection or failure can stop people from achieving their dreams. When you look back on your life and the choices you made, it shouldn’t be with regret. That being said, an industry change shouldn’t be a split-second decision. This is a significant move that you need to make sure you’re ready for. Here are my top tips on how to make an industry change:

1. Get clear on what motivates you.

This self-discovery piece is so important if you’re considering an industry change. It’s a great way for you to make absolutely sure that you’re a great fit with the industry and that it will be a fulfilling transition in the long run. Key message: get clear on your why. Why is it that you want to change industries? To do this, examine some of your important motivators, including your values, what’s important to you, and what types of projects make you tick. This will help you discover what’s truly important to you and whether making an industry change will match with your overall vision for your life.

2. Do your research.

Research can come in many forms, from traditional web resources to financial reports, conferences, and connecting with knowledgable industry players at networking events. Most importantly, this stage is about getting your feet wet in the industry and gathering the knowledge you’ll need to make an informed decision. It will also help build your credibility if you can speak confidently to industry trends during an interview.

3. Talk to as many people as possible.

From what I’ve seen, the more informational interviews you have, the more likely it is that your industry change will be successful. This is because when a company gets the resume of someone who has made an industry change, they’ll likely perceive immediately that the person doesn’t have the right skill sets for them. This means that you’ll need to increase your credibility and other people’s faith in you, and one of the best ways to do that is to get referrals from within the organization. This is why it’s so important to connect with people – the more you have on your side, the better. Leverage LinkedIn by reaching out to relevant connections and asking for introductions to the ones you haven’t met yet. You can also seek out high performers on social media platforms like Twitter, or look into your alumni network.

4. Recognize that rejections will come.

The reality is that you will likely get a lot of rejections before you get hired, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s pretty much the standard for industry changers. Don’t take them to heart, or as a sign that you shouldn’t make a change. Eventually, the right opportunity will come along if you take a proactive approach to your transition. Never give up on what could make you happy!

Do you have any questions about making a career transition? Let me know in the comments section!

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