You’re ready to shake things up and use your skill set in a new industry. Exciting stuff, but just one hurdle: How do you convince interviewers that you’re up for the jump? Life Reimagined thought leader Kerry Hannon, author of Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness,explains how to position yourself for a successful leap.
1. Don’t think of your move as a reinvention. Instead, frame your plans as a redeployment of your skills. “Have that swagger. You have the spine of skills that’s needed, even if the industry is new,” Hannon says. Before beginning a search, network with people in your new industry to find out if a special certificate or qualification will give you an edge—then get it, if they say it’s worthwhile. “This should be about: ‘How can I make my next employer’s life easier? What do I bring to the party?’” says Hannon. “They’re not there to babysit you!”
2. Do the job first. Take on freelancing assignments or volunteering gigs in your chosen industry before applying. You’ll get experience, and a fatter contact list when you apply for a steady gig.
3. Get a reality check. Ask people in your proposed industry about the challenges and the rewards, whether it’s a better lifestyle or less money.
4. Flatter your interviewer. When questioned by someone who’s skeptical about your proposed shift, explain why you love their industry or company, whether it involves more learning opportunities, growth or buzz. “This is a way to show you’d have pride in the company and its reputation,” Hannon says.
5. Don’t get hung up on titles. “If you want to make a move, make the move. You might be a greenhorn for a while. Accept that you might not have the seniority you once had,” Hannon says. Instead, look beyond ego to think about why the new industry excites you. This way, your search will spring from passion, not desperation.
By Kara Baskin