Developing Your Career

Adding Value and Minimizing Risk in a Career Change

By Greg Simpson on June 20, 2012

If opportunities in your industry or profession are shrinking, it might be the time to shift into a related (and more viable) industry or function.  While a complete career change may not be your goal in the short-term, transferring your skills and knowledge to a new industry or function is one strategy that can expand your immediate opportunities.  But it’s key to position the move as a one that adds value to the hiring organization, while minimizes risk.

Move into a new industry in a similar function, allowing you to take a transferrable skill set into another sector. 

Identify the skills valued by the targeted industry by reading job postings, researching trends and initiating discussions with individuals working in that industry. Create a compelling social media profile on LinkedIn that highlights your accomplishments and relates them to similar challenges in the targeted industry.  Scrub your resume to eliminate jargon specific to your previous industry and include accomplishment statements that are easily understood in another industry.  Then begin to make connections by leveraging your traditional and social media networks and identify companies who need someone with your skill set.

Remain in the same industry, but change functions, allowing you to leverage industry knowledge. 

You’ll need a functional resume that highlights your accomplishments and skills while putting less focus on the specific job titles of your previous positions.  Group your accomplishment statements under key categories pertinent to your targeted job such as Problem Solving / Analysis, Profitability, Executive Administration, Technical Applications, Instructional Design, Sales Effectiveness, etc.  Then follow this section with your chronological work history. Raise your visibility with potential connections by participating in industry-related discussion forums to showcase your knowledge and position yourself as a thought leader. Network with vendors for job leads, information and contacts who will value your industry knowledge and experience.

Keep in mind that you’re not making a complete career change – with all the inherent obstacles – but shifting direction.  Transitioning into a new industry or function allows you to use your skills and begin contributing much more quickly.  As a candidate who brings a wealth of industy or functional experience to a new role, you’re a smart hiring investment – minimizing risk and maximizing return.


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