If the economy has affected your employment prospects, consider applying your skills in a new industry. The health-care, high-tech, energy and life-sciences sectors of the economy continue to drive demand for professional and management talent, according to some recruitment-industry consultants. But before leaping to another field, you’ll need to first identify the right industry and reposition yourself as a legitimate candidate.
Find an area that interests you. A hobby or personal interest may lead to your next career. For example, if you are in financial services and are a technology buff, consider looking at in-house finance positions at tech companies.
Learn the landscape. To assess opportunities, research the market for your functional areas of expertise and the relative health of any sector you might go into. Look beyond research on compensation and industry trends by educating yourself on how a company or industry runs and any pending legislation that may affect the employment outlook in a field. Review analyst reports, scour RSS feeds, and set up Google News Alerts by keyword once you’ve narrowed a field of interest.
Examine your experience. Identify transferable skills and value. It’s not uncommon for professionals to cross industries. In those cases, you’re hired not as an industry expert but as an innovative leader with potential. Try working with a career adviser to identify your strengths and figure out what differentiates you and what might put you above others with experience in your targeted field.
Develop a communications strategy. Create a core message that shows your value and identifies your point of differentiation. Use your resume, cover letter and networking sites such as LinkedIn to build visibility and credibility. To refine your message, consider 15secondpitch.com, an interactive site that will help you create a summary statement.
Consider a recruitment agency. Some agencies will present clients with candidates who aren’t industry insiders. Many clients are willing to consider cross-over talent in industries where the demand for talent exceeds the supply. To find firms that work with “cross-over” talent, check out recruiter directories such as recruiterlink.com, onlinerecruitersdirectory.com, searchfirm.com and i-recruit.com.
Be prepared for compensation adjustments. A change of industry may affect your bottom line; prepare your financial strategy in private and show that you can adjust. “Demonstrate that you are willing to put your own skin in the game,” says one recruiter.