How to change industries during a job search?

In a recent Tim’s Strategy Group, on LinkedIn, a job seeker asked one of the most common questions during a job search: “How do you deal with changing industries during a job search?”

There are loads of related themes, but the biggest one is something along the lines of “you have many years of experience in one industry, got laid off, or the business went under, or in today’s market the industry collapsed (residential construction), and you need to find a new industry”.

Here are some tips to get you moving:

  1. Don’t do the “Click N’ Apply… and wait!” job search. You need to get involved in the new industries you are targeting.
  2. Choose 1 or 2 industries to focus on.
  3. Find the companies in those industries that you are interested in working for. Start following those companies on LinkedIn and with Google Alerts.
  4. Join and get active in the LinkedIn Groups in those industries.
  5. Build relationships with employees in the companies.
  6. Start engaging in “informational meetings” with employees and thought leaders in the industry. Use these meetings to figure out what of your skills are transferable, and how you market them. NEVER ask for a job or talk about openings when asking for “informational meetings”. That’s not what they are for. They are for learning about the industry and companies, so you can bridge the gap in your experience, through trusted connections and relevant authority.
  7. Ask for employee referrals.

** You never want to seem like an “industry outsider” or “job seeker”.
** The most effective way to get hired is through an employee referral.

Become a knowledgeable industry insider by spending 2 hours per day learning the companies, the products, the issues, the customers, the divisions, the players, the industry thought leaders, and of course all the employees in your chose industries and companies.

You can use micro blogs, like Twitter and update services like “share” and “updates” on LinkedIn, to share links to company and industry news etc. If you continue doing this for 2 hours per day, you are not only going to learn a lot, but you will be publishing a lot.

When you get interviewed, and the recruiting teams starts a “social background” check on you, they are going to find out that you are indeed a Subject Matter Expert.

If you are spending 2 hours per day, or 10 hours per week learning about the industries and companies, I guarantee that within 5 weeks you have put more time into researching and learning about the industry, and keeping up with the latest trends, than most everyone else else that is applying for a position.

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Jonathan Duarte

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