I recently coached a senior professional Akshay (name changed to maintain confidentiality) who had spent years in the telecom industry and was now wanting to shift industry. One of the most premium segment car manufacturer showed interest in Akshay’s candidature and he is up for a final round of interview for a Business Head position with focus on service and sales. This car manufacture being from the premium segment had an important criteria while shortlisting the potential candidate that he/she needs to have an excellent understanding and experience in terms of technology to support the service part of the product. That is because they have a unique offering in terms of service for the customer. This is in addition to other skills that the candidate is required to have. Akshay has performed well in the interviews with focus on his transferable skills.
Many professionals aspire to shift industry however it remains a daunting task primarily because they do not know how to break the traditional mindset of the recruiters. The recruiters want someone from the industry which stems from the basic human tendency to play safe. However as a candidate you can certainly make the shift. I know of many professionals who have done so.
How does one successfully manage this? There is a famous quote “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”- Albert Einstein. So you as a candidate really need to think out of the box. First criteria is that you need to clear out the cobwebs in your own thinking. Challenging it is, however with a well thought out strategy it is very much possible.
Here are 5 practical steps you can take to shift industry:
1] Focus on transferable skills:
Soft skills like adaptability, ability to learn, being able to communicate through the digital platform, flexibility are important. When you do your research by studying the JD, identify which are the soft skills required? For example, managing large sized teams and keeping them productive is something which is applicable across industries. Make a list of your success stories where you successfully used these soft skills and got measurable results.
2] One common experience / understanding:
Identify one key requirement (pain point) wherein you can demonstrate that you already have that specific experience/ expertise. Like in case of Akshay in the above example, it was technology playing an important role in the telecom industry for the service needs and so was the requirement also with the car manufacturer.
3] Demonstrate with success stories:
List down the domain as well as transferable skills on the left hand side of a page and on the opposite side write down 3 stories each which will demonstrate that you already possess the required skills. It helps you in answering behavioral interview questions.
4] Customise your resume:
Pick up keywords from the skills required from the job description and include them in your resume. For each job application tweak your resume. Your headline too needs to be customised accordingly. For example, if you are heading B to B sales in the service industry and wanting to shift to the banking industry, do not simply write a senior sales professional in your headline. Instead write Top performing B to B sales head professional, Service industry.
5] LinkedIn profile:
Use the headline and the section ‘About you (summary)’ to describe you as a potential candidate for the target industry and also include core skills required by the potential industry. Include/ get recommendations wherein new skills required are mentioned. Third party validation helps in building your online brand.
Do take these 5 steps and you will see that the route to shifting your industry becomes easier.
Founder & CEO