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New job, new industry – how do your skills transfer?

By Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

The experience gained by shifting industries can be incredibly beneficial for your career. By transferring your skills across to a different kind of role, you might well throw some light onto a passion you didn’t know about. It’s also a great way to build a diverse network! Here are some thoughts to bear in mind when making that big switch:

1. Combine your passions with roles that are in high demand

A really simple point that many people forget to do is looking into whether their careers and their interests can marry up. For instance, if you are a sales executive who finds cyber-crime interesting, then a great combination would be sales roles available within the IT security sector.

You should also find out what the industry is like to work in – making sure that you are culturally aligned to it. Going back to the IT example, it’s a very fast-paced sector that’s constantly evolving, so you would have to be on your toes and ready to re-learn the ropes as things change. Does this sound like something you would be happy doing?

You should also talk about this change with any contacts you may have that work in your desired sector, and use this opportunity to ask for any feedback and advice. Contacting a recruitment consultant can also be helpful in your job search as they are already experts within that field, and will be able to give you useful tips on how get your foot through the door.

2. Increase your awareness ahead of time

At this stage, you may have found something you are passionate about, but it’s how you increase your knowledge and start the journey to becoming an expert is what matters the most. This will ensure you stand out from the crowd when interviewing. Here’s how:

Follow their network – look out for industry leaders on social media, and keep up with any relevant content they might have shared. This will help you to be aware of any key trends and insights.

  • Read any journals, books or whitepapers so you can mention appropriate case studies.
  • Listen to podcasts and register to attend events, seminars or webinars that might help expand your knowledge within the industry.
  • If you are still looking for a new opportunity, consider taking on temp work, internships or volunteer work that will help build your network.
  • Look out for any related courses or qualifications that may add value to you as a candidate.
     

By following these steps, you will find your understanding grows organically and swiftly, making you more confident in making this career move.

3. Performing your job search effectively

To be sure of moving confidently, you should tailor your job search and keep to specific goals. Update your CV and your online social networks – include new skills and qualifications, amend your hobbies and interests to reflect your appropriateness for the industry in question, and customise your personal statement to explain why you would like to move into this field.

You should also work with a recruiter – our consultants at Hays have strong relationships with clients across many different sectors and industries. With this expert knowledge, we will be able to give you valuable insight into what the company is like to work for, and help prepare you for your interview.


4. Communicate your transferable skills in the interview

The interview is your chance to demonstrate how passionate you are really are and why this industry is of interest to you. Take the opportunity to explain what you have learnt and how you are becoming an expert within the field. But remember, preparation is key.

Before the interview, identify your transferable skills from your previous industry to this one, and how your diverse knowledge could be beneficial to this role. For example, if you worked in Life Sciences before and want to get into IT, highlight that both these industries are fast-paced and rapidly evolving. Through this, you can demonstrate that you are adaptable and can use this experience to prosper in your new role.

Prepare for questions such as ‘what relevant experience do you have?’ and be open to talk about it within your interview as this will be highly likely to come up. Also ensure you also have questions to ask about the industry, this will show that you are enthusiastic and willing to learn. Asking these questions won’t show weakness, but instead demonstrates curiosity and passion.

If you are looking for support with your employment needs please contact your local office.

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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