How to change the industry when you lack experience? This is one of the first questions you ask yourself when you want to change business. You realize that to get a job you must have the experience, and to get the experience you must have a job. A dilemma that seems impossible to solve at first.
And it is relatively easy to start a new career without experience: hundreds of thousands of students do it every year.
Changing the industry without experience is possible, but it will require a bit of initiative and going beyond the known patterns. Below are some tips on how to change the industry even if you lack experience.
BET ON EDUCATION
While writing this article, I was wondering whether to include such an obvious point at all. It is difficult for me to imagine how to change the industry without a learning phase. If you lack experience in a new industry then education will be a necessary step.
A focus on learning shows your interest and commitment to a new field, and will also give you at least some background on which to build. Of course, theory and practice are often two different things, so education is certainly no substitute for hands-on experience. But it’s a good way to fill the gap when the experience is lacking. So take industry courses, get certified, and get a new degree if needed.
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS ON CV
Many people who want to change the industry have a problem with writing a CV. A traditional CV usually focuses on experience. So what to do when you miss it? Redirect your attention to the skills you already have. This is where education comes in handy because you can show off the knowledge and skills you have acquired while studying.
Make a separate summary of skills on your CV. However, do not list the entire list of skills that may be useful in a new industry. Choose 3-5 and try to show them in action. Look for examples of situations where you have already applied these skills.
Before you start listing your skills, think about what the best people are doing in a job that interests you in the new industry? What does this role require that the company is not really talking about aloud? Look for unspoken and potentially more important requirements.
If you can demonstrate a better understanding of the role and company than other applicants, the discrepancy in experience will be less significant.
ADD A STRONG MOTIVATION LETTER
I am not a fan of cover letters, but when changing industry and profession, it can be extremely useful. It is important that the cover letter attached to your CV is strong. In it you will explain why you want to change the industry and how your skills make it logical progress in professional development.
Be specific and persuasive when writing your cover letter. Briefly tell your story. Share your passion for a new industry – express your willingness to learn new things. Show what you have done so far to bring the industry change to life (e.g. education, volunteering, etc.).
Include the same information in your LinkedIn summary so people understand why your previous experiences don’t match your new career goals.
Remember that experience is not the only thing prospective employers are looking for. Many companies are more interested in personality and fit with the organizational culture. Moreover, with less experience you do not have unnecessary baggage – for example, unwanted behaviors and techniques learned elsewhere. You are a clean slate, at least in this industry. Use this to your advantage.
HOW TO CHANGE INDUSTRY WITHOUT A CV
A traditional resume when changing industry may work against you due to inexperience. So try to find other ways to show your employer your personality and skills other than your CV.
You now have a lot of options: record a video, redirect your employer to your website, where you can post information about your projects or portfolio. You can also redirect to your blog and social media accounts you are successfully running. Materials and venues should clearly show your interest in the new industry.
Contrary to appearances, managers very often employ people who do not have all the qualifications needed to work. If you can show your interest in a new industry through your website, blog or portfolio, you significantly increase your chances of employment.
When someone with a full-time job devotes many hours after work to blogging or self-employment in a field of their choice, they prove that they really know what they want to do.
HOW TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY THANKS TO SIMILARITY
People who want to change the industry often say they are terrified of starting from scratch. This is one of the biggest misconceptions when changing industries. If you already have several years of professional work experience, you are not starting to scratch!
Look for similarities to working in a new industry in your experience, skills and knowledge. Think about the roles you played that were similar to the new job. Think about what universal skills you have that can be transferred and used. What knowledge can you use in your new job?
Search for similarities through the prism of the needs of the future employer. What may the company need based on its current situation and what can you provide, even if it is beyond the official job description?
Review the job descriptions and note down the key things that employers are looking for from the candidate. Think of past activities, projects, or experiences that show you have these skills.
HOW TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY THROUGH IMMERSION
The more you get to know a new industry, the easier it will be to find a new job there. It will take time on your part, but if you want to change the industry, I assume you are interested in topics related to that industry. So you spend your free time, but you learn things that interest you and will help you in the later stages of your career.
In the initial stages, focus on what you want to learn and what would help you most in changing the industry. Do not learn everything at once, because the enormity of knowledge to be processed will overwhelm you and discourage you from implementing it.
Search the web for websites, blogs, articles related to the new industry. Read books and trade press – stay up to date with the news and challenges of the industry. If a topic interests you, look for free online courses to better explore the topic.
Look for online and live conferences, industry-related webinars. Follow the people who seem to have the greatest impact on the development of the industry online.
HOW TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY THANKS TO PEOPLE
The answer to the question of how to change an industry without experience is largely about meeting people. New contacts in the industry are new inspirations and opportunities to present what you have learned so far. And each such opportunity increases your chances of finding a job in a new industry.
Look for groups on FB, LinkedIn, internet forums. Observe and slowly join discussions – share what you learn with others. Ask people in the industry you learn about what websites, people, events they recommend, what they follow and from whom they learn. Start with one or two people and gradually expand your network of contacts.
HOW TO GET YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE IN A NEW INDUSTRY
Your initiative is needed when looking for experience opportunities. You already have the knowledge and skills acquired during education in a new industry. Time to put them into practice.
Start looking for experience opportunities in the place where you currently work. However, do not wonder if there are such possibilities at all, just ask in the company. Talk to your manager first so he doesn’t be surprised why you are asking about new opportunities. Ask in the HR department and ask the head of the department in which you would like to work. Talk to the people in the department to see if they could use some help. Even the smallest task that will somehow involve a new industry will be worth its weight in gold for you.
If there is no such department in your company, check to see if there are other related tasks that you could perform. Just because there is no department does not mean that there are no such tasks or that the company does not need such a department. Think who is doing these tasks right now – check if they need additional help.
HOW TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY BY LEAVING AN OFFER
Many people believe that when you want to change the industry, you can only gain experience by working full-time. This is of course not true.
You gain your first experience during your education, during exercises with other students. You can enrich yourself with new experiences by helping people in your immediate vicinity: friends and acquaintances.
You can also gain experience by offering small jobs to small, often one-person companies that will be happy to use your services for little money.
This will not be possible in all industries, but try to find ways to sell your skills outside of a job. This is not a target strategy – it is about getting your first 3-5 jobs that will help you know and change the industry.
Let it be small jobs that won’t take long, but confirm that you already have experience in this area. It could be running an Instagram account for a couple of weeks, creating one website for a product. You can also prepare graphics for social media or offer a short consultation for the company and individuals.
It does not matter here whether they will be paid orders or not. It is important that you have gained experience that you can tell about in your CV or during an interview.
These little jobs can strengthen your confidence and make you speak more courageously about your experience. They will also confirm to the future employer that you seriously want to change the industry.
HOW TO CHANGE THE INDUSTRY WITHOUT EXPERIENCE
Think about gaining new experience when you decide to change the industry. When choosing courses, look for those that have practical classes and check how you will be able to use the acquired knowledge in your current job or in your environment.
The labor market is changing and employers are changing their attitudes towards people who want to change industries. This is already happening in the IT industry – more than half of people working in this industry have retrained from other industries and professions.