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How To Sell Your Skills Into A New Industry Or Role

by Guest on September 15, 2015
Career

Think back to when you first chose your current career. You might have been young, maybe just out of high school and working part-time. You chose a field that interested you, completed your education from either a university or a TAFE institution and started working. Or perhaps your current career is actually your second or third career.

In either scenario, you once enjoyed your career, but now things are starting to look stale. That feeling of excitement you used to get from your work faded long ago. You might find that vertical promotions in your industry are limited or perhaps you’ve realised that what you’re doing just isn’t what you want to do for the rest of your life.

And you know what? That’s ok!

The truth is that people are changing jobs and career tracks much more than you might think. According to research from McCrindle, Australian workers are statistically destined to:

  • Hold 17 jobs over the course of their lifetimes (average of three per decade starting from part-time work at age 18 to retirement at age 75)
  • Work in 5 different career tracks over the course of their lifetimes
  • Work at each job for an average of 3.3 years before upskilling and moving on

So clearly, changing career paths is the norm, and if so many other people are doing it, then you certainly can too. Since 1975, young people under the age of 25 have had the greatest job mobility and the shortest job tenure (about one year and eight months, says McCrindle). They’re more likely change jobs, go back to school, upskill and move back home and around the country.

So clearly, changing career paths is the norm, and if so many other people are doing it, then you certainly can too.

Now McCrindle’s research shows that older employees are doing just the same with great success because of the shifts in markets and the needs of the workforce. With the demands of parenthood, elder care and other obligations, employees at all ages are feeling more empowered and less dependent on their employers. They’re going after more temporary or part-time jobs as well as self-employment options such as contractors, freelancers and business owners. The workforce is exhibiting a confidence that puts workplace power in their hands and compels companies and entire industries to offer more competitive salaries and benefits to keep quality workers for longer periods of time.

From McCrindle’s research, we can conclude that industry and role hopping is not only common, but also a major benefit for the companies. Hiring someone with experience in other industries can be enlightening, and bringing in a fresh perspective can help companies locate oversights in their day to day work and make improvements that will ensure lasting success for the company.

Though you may feel apprehensive about changing careers or job roles, know that you’re not alone and you can create the career you’ve always wanted for yourself. No matter what skill set you currently have, you can market your skills and promote yourself in such a way that will make industry employers excited to meet you and interested in your skills.

Want to learn how? Check out this complete guide on how to sell your skills to a new industry or role.

Research Your New Industry

To be successful in a new career, you first need to know exactly what it takes to be successful in that new field. You’ll want to know what kind of training you’ll need and what skills are highly valued by employers. Knowing about your industry’s key players and the most recent developments will show employers that you’re dedicated to learning as you go.

The best place to start is to speak with people currently working in your preferred industry or job role. More than likely, you probably already know people within your preferred industry, so don’t be afraid to make connections and start networking early. These current professionals will be able to offer all sorts of insights into the industry and give you a leg up on what you need to know to be successful.

If you don’t already know someone in your preferred industry or role, ask friends and family members. Chances are they may know someone and can help you make a connection.

If you don’t already know someone in your preferred industry or role, ask friends and family members. Chances are they may know someone and can help you make a connection.

When speaking with a current industry professional, make sure you discuss:

  • What skills are highly regarded and what certifications and degrees are necessary
  • Typical day-to-day tasks you’ll be performing
  • Potential job advancements or other positions you could hold within the industry
  • Flexibility of the industry
  • Current job market and overall industry health

Even if you don’t know anyone in your industry or job role, you can find a wealth of information on the internet. University and TAFE institution websites have ample information regarding certain industries and career tracks. Use these sites to get an idea for what skills and possible certifications you’ll need to be successful or move up to a certain job level in an industry.

Tailor Your CV

You may already have plenty of skills that translate easily to many different job positions across multiple industries. When applying for jobs, you need to tailor your CV to match what the job is looking for and highlight how your current skills and work experience could be a valuable asset to the employer.

When submitting a CV for a job, follow this simple checklist:

  1. Read over carefully what the job position is describing. Pick out specific keywords (multi-tasking, teamwork, flexible schedule) and make note of any specific skills (Microsoft Office proficiency or customer service knowledge) or jobs you will be required to perform.
  2. Give a succinct overview of your career, but if you’re changing industries, don’t feel like you have to offer a lengthy explanation as to why you want to do this. Be brief and to the point.
  3. Include any degrees or certifications you do have. Even if they don’t fit the industry, it’s good to show your education history.
  4. When listing out your previous work experience, focus on the keywords and skills you highlighted earlier. List out the responsibilities that pertain to this new position you want. If an experienced beauty therapist is looking to score a spa general manager job, then she might highlight previous business and bookkeeping experience as well as customer service work rather than focusing solely on her beauty therapy work.
  5. Choose referees that can speak to these specific skills. You don’t have to use the same list of referees for every job. Have a list ready and choose referees based on what they can tell your potential employer about your skillset.

You don’t have to use the same list of referees for every job. Have a list ready and choose referees based on what they can tell your potential employer about your skillset.

Remember, you should be tailoring your CV every time you submit it for a job position. Not all companies will value the same skills or call for the same types of experiences. Go back through the checklist above for each job that you apply for and make sure you are tailoring them specifically.

Check Out Education Options

In some instances, you may need to go back to school to become certified in an industry before you can begin working fully in it. Working as a beauty therapist in a salon, for example, requires certification. If you’re coming from a completely different industry, then you will need to earn your certification before you can begin working.

If you want to move up in your industry and take on a new role (moving from a human resources associate to a managerial position, for example), then you may be able to take an online TAFE course and work towards your certification on your own time. Online courses are perfect for working parents who may find themselves balancing enough with work and children as it is.

Online courses are also preferable for people who can’t quit their jobs and go back to school full time. Online work can be done at your own pace, yet they’re also efficient and teach necessary skills needed to thrive in an industry. Choose courses that are nationally accredited so you can be certain that once you complete the course, employers will recognise and respect its value.

If you’re currently working in your preferred industry and want to move up or into a new position, taking online classes will enhance your skillset and help you land that next promotion or job. For example, an administrative receptionist looking to work in the legal profession might earn her Certificate IV in Legal Services online so she can become a legal receptionist, assistant paralegal or legal support officer.

No matter what industry you’re currently in or what position you no hold, never feel as if you’re trapped and can never escape.

No matter what industry you’re currently in or what position you no hold, never feel as if you’re trapped and can never escape. The truth is that you definitely can. As shown in McCrindle’s research, Australian employees transition between jobs quite frequently and go on to do rewarding work in their preferred industry. Don’t ever feel that you are powerless. With a little self-promotional work and some added education, you can achieve your dream job and go to work every day feeling proud of your accomplishments.

So tell us ladies, have you ever considered changing job roles or careers? If so, what’s holding you back? Share your thoughts with us!

Author Bio

Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about education, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.

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