Transitioning between industries can be challenging, especially given the current economic climate where chances are there will be packs of qualified candidates vying for the job you want. In order to stand out and increase your chances for snagging the job despite the fact that you do not have a professional background in that industry, you should:
Network. Networking is key for professional success whether you are transitioning between industries or not. Make networking a habit. Attend Meetup events and join local groups that will expose you to industry insiders. Making these contacts will provide you key references and connections when it’s time to show your potential employer that you have what it takes.
Be vocal. Put yourself out there. Let the right people know what you want to do. Chances are you (or friend/family member) know someone who might be able to help you. Make that person a mentor, because they may be able to put you in contact with the right people. As they say, it’s not always what you know but who you know.
Be Active. Peruse the job sites and see what they are looking for in a candidate in that particular industry. Cater your resume to fit into the world you want to be apart of. Use key words found in job descriptions and pull out aspects of your current role that qualify you as a competitive candidate for the job you want.
Take strategic risks. You might have to take an entry-level job in the new industry of your choice. Freelance on the side of your current job or volunteer/intern your time where possible. Doing these things may take up some of your extra time, but it can be extremely beneficial if you can add new positions to your resume.
Seek higher education. Go to school and get a certificate or higher degree in the new field of your choice. This will give you credibility in the field. Attending higher learning institutions will also put you in contact with alumni who are usually more than willing to help a fellow alumnus. The school’s career services department is a great place to start finding your first gig in your new field.
Once you’ve made it into the field of your choice, be mindful of the culture and “codes” of this new environment. Entertainment finance might be very different from working in the accounting department at JP Morgan. If you worked in HR and now do PR, try to loosen up a little and be more social. Find someone who can show you the ropes and pay close attention to detail. Don’t be overly nervous, go for it and prove yourself!