How to sell yourself when changing industries

April 13, 2022

At some point along your career path, it’s likely you’ve heard that tempting voice whispering to quit your job and follow your dreams. Some people answer that call, but many do not.

Why is that?

It might be nerves or a lack of confidence needed to start over from scratch. You may even believe your skills or education level isn’t good enough to take you where you dream of.

Or perhaps the thought of trying something new is just too terrifying to face.

Whatever is stopping you from changing career paths, it’s important to know there are steps that can be taken to create the competitive advantage you need to crack into a new industry, role, or way of life. We are here to share them with you.

Here are seven ways to sell yourself when changing industries.

1. Figure out what it is you are looking for

Take a hard look at what’s going on in your professional life, and ask yourself those hard questions. How does my current job make me feel? What makes me happy? What is it about my current job that frustrates me? How do I want this to change?

When considering these tough questions related to what appeals and what doesn’t about your job, try writing these answers down in a journal to better understand how you’re feeling. These answers will paint a better picture of what job satisfaction looks like for you.

Use these answers to start thinking about how your current skills, education, and experiences contributed to past career successes, then consider how to use those to find a new career path that better fulfils your needs and gives you greater job satisfaction.

2. Make an action plan

To really set the stage for success on a new job search, consider doing some form of personal assessment to provide better self-awareness about a potential new career. This assessment could be in the form of a professional SWOT analysis, taking a standardised test, journaling, or getting advice or feedback from friends, family, and mentors.

Now evaluate the industries you are interested in. Consider the skills they look for and how your current skills can benefit you when changing industries.

Once you’ve done enough self-assessment, make a list of goals for your job search. These goals will be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely, and are designed to keep you focused and thinking strategically as you look to change career paths.

3. Research potential careers and job matches

Ensure you are clear on what type of career you are looking for, why you want to pursue it, and what transferable skills make you stand out.

A focused job search will help you make sense of what you are looking for and keep you from becoming overwhelmed with options. Having a plan keeps you on the right track when navigating changing industries or career directions.

4. Consider rebranding yourself

New career, new you! When looking to stand out in a new industry, it’s important to use resources like a resume, cover letter, and social profiles, like LinkedIn, to create a personal brand that’s relevant to potential employers.

Rebranding yourself for a career change is a great strategy to help align your current experience and transferable skills with your desired goals.

Think about how the experiences you’ve gained through your current career can make you a better choice for the role you’re applying for and use that to make a powerful personal statement about why you’re the right candidate across your resume, cover letter, and any business networking sites.

You should also use this opportunity to display your passion for the career change you’re seeking and how this passion will serve as a driving force for you to take on this new challenge and succeed.

5. Upgrade your education or skills

With the constant move towards increased digitisation and continually changing technology, keeping education and the right skills you need up to date is helpful when selling yourself as an asset when changing industries.

Upgrade education or relevant skills through university courses, other continuing education forms, or even free online classes.

These options will bring you up to speed on what you need to know about the sector you’re trying to break into and ensure a successful career change.

If you haven’t made a career change yet and are still employed in your current role, start looking for any available professional development opportunities to help you gain the new skills needed to take you in a new career direction.

Try to make small changes on a day-to-day basis to expand on your experience in your day job, or even ask to job shadow a friend or colleague who is in a role you are interested in persuing.

You might also want to consider whether seeking some work experience would be of benefit to you.

This can help you determine whether or not a career change of this kind would be the right move for you, as well as enable you to build connections in this sector, prove your worth to your future peers and gain a reference from a qualified professional.

Even if you didn’t take a STEM course in school, there are still a variety of positions available, so just look for a role that best suits your skills or interests.

6. Tailor your resume to your new industry

After investing in upgrading your skills, education, and experiences, it’s now time to reflect them in your resume!

Even if you don’t have the direct experience needed for your dream role, you probably have a lot of transferable skills. Transferable skills are important to highlight and include time management, communication, leadership, and the ability to solve complex problems.

Figure out the in-demand transferable skills in a preferred industry, then make them stand out on your resume. But you will need to show them instead of just telling them through hard numbers and facts.

For example, if you managed a big project that is relevant to the new industry you’re applying for, consider including something like, “I successfully led a team of five colleagues on a marketing campaign for a new product that resulted in a 30% increase in sales.”

If you need help with your resume, try using our resume-writing tips to help you get started!

7. Network, network, network

Finding a new job is all about who you know. But what if you don’t know anyone in your new industry?

You can network anywhere! Consider looking up industry-specific opportunities, like corporate or networking events, volunteering, fundraisers, community events, and even hobby or fitness groups.

Networking can be a fun, professional way to expand your industry connections and will be of huge benefit to you if you are trying to change careers, but there is some unspoken etiquette to follow:

  1. Be polite
  2. Don’t ask for introductions
  3. Be considerate of other people’s time
  4. Don’t ask for a job right away
  5. Respect boundaries
  6. Keep in touch
  7. Make sure to say “thank you” after sharing a conversation

Networking is a skill that comes down to feeling comfortable being your true, authentic self. You never know who you’re going to meet, so take advantage of the potential to network anywhere!

Need help changing industries?

Effectively selling yourself when changing careers or industries can be an overwhelming task if you don’t know where to start. These tips are the first step along your journey towards career satisfaction.

Whatever your reasons for changing industries, like reducing stress, getting more money, improving work-life balance, following a passion, or feeling appreciated, we can help you start your new career journey.

Register on our candidate portal to make that first step towards securing a fulfilling career.

This post was written by: Charlotte Bosley-Plumb, Content Marketing Coordinator