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Expert Perspectives and Industry Trends

How to Change Fields or Industries

How to Change Fields or Industries

These days it’s quite common for people to change jobs every five or so years. But are they changing industries? Going into a whole new field? Sometimes, yes. It takes a little more work, but it can be done.

Maybe you got into a field you found you really don’t like. Or maybe the industry you’re in is in a downward spiral. For whatever reason, it’s time to go into a new field.

The problem comes when your desired employers advertise they’re looking for a certain number of years of experience in that particular field. So how do you get around that?

Start by laying some groundwork. Do a lot of research. What field are you interested in? Why do you think so? Get specific. Don’t be in the position of working hard to move to another field when you find you don’t like that one either. Do a lot of research.

Talk to people in the field you’re interested in. Work your network or, if necessary, expand your network into more diverse fields. Talk to a lot of people.

Attend events and/or meetings that pertain to your desired field. This will give you a good opportunity to expand your network, hear speakers, participate in events, and generally immerse yourself in your desired field. Can you do a little moonlighting in this field? Might be worth it to find out if it’s really what you want; plus you’ll be adding experience in the actual industry you’re targeting. You might have to do a little work for free or at a reduced rate, but the benefits might well be worth it.

Learn the lingo. You can do this on-line and with your network. Every industry has their own unique sets of words, phrases and acronyms. Find out what they are so you can talk the talk.

Re-vamp your resume. Instead of listing your job experience, list your skill experience. Put your actual job experience towards the end of the resume. Tell a story. Who are you? How did you get where you are? Why do you want to work with this company in particular? How will your skills translate? If you need specific technical knowledge, this is how you got it or are getting it.

Smart hiring managers will look for personality traits–how you approach and solve problems, how you work within a team, how you manage people–generally more behavioral traits rather than specific skills. This will definitely work to your benefit.

In short, it you want to transfer fields, find out everything you can about the field and start acting like you’re in the field. You want to be a writer? Call yourself a writer and tell everyone you talk to you’re a writer.

The person who keeps trying and learning new things is a smart, interesting person. Be brave. Try something new!

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