Career Change


Career Change

Recently we had a question come to us about how a person transition from one industry or a specific job title to another industry or another area of the company that requires different skills from what we presently have.  Perhaps as a way to avoid becoming stale, we may want to explore other work areas.

Sometimes, we have been in a career for a period and we discover an interest in another industry or another area of work, a change of career.  We have written a bit about our career experiences in our LinkedIn article Careers are for Exploration.

As we thought about this, we created a list or outline of ideas for

  1. What is one’s present experience can translate to the target desired industry or job or title?
    • Existing Skills
      1. Analytic skills (example; engineering or simulation skills)
      2. Organization skills (project management)
      3. Planning skills
    • Do you have hobbies that transfer to the industry or to the job type or title?  Do these hobbies link to your desired career change?
      1. For example, you work on your car, and use this to demonstrate your interest in cars.
      2. Photography – presentation and marketing
      3. Writing
    • Tools
      1. Simulation tools
      2. Micro-Soft suite
      3. FileMaker Pro
      4. Total Quality Management, Six Sigma

2. What skills and experiences are required for you to move to a new industry or functional area?

    • Read hiring information from the companies and industries you would like to be employed (position postings)
    • Read industry-specific magazines on the future and current trends for that industry
    • Look for industry standards that apply to the industry and work area you seek to enter

3. What skills or experiences are you missing, are these hurdles to changing to the new industry or specialty area?

    • Become a member of industry organizations
      1. Example automotive SAE and AIAG
      2. Example manufacturing Society of Manufacturing Engineers
    • Self-study to reduce the gap – from the knowledge perspective, between what you know now, and what is needed to be successful
    • find a mentor in your target / desired industry

4. During any discussion with the would-be industry interview

    • Recognize the gaps upfront – do not try to hide this–articulate what is missing clearly and quickly.
    • Quickly pivot to what you know and how that fits the new industry/company needs
    • Articulate:
      1.  Self-study effort you have undertaken
      2. Industry organizations that you are a member of or read studies or standards
      3. Suggest the actions you are would undertake if they hire you
      4. Ask the interviewer if they have suggestions to close your knowledge gap, and if you find these helpful, tell them so and that if hired you will undertake these suggested actions.

5. Lower the risks to the industry you wish to move (your barrier to entry)

    • Salary negotiations (see the linked LinkedIn article)
    • Demonstrate your desire and ability to invest (in the past or future) in training to overcome any areas that the hiring people may deem lacking




Post by Jon Quigley