Monday, April 23, 2012

Feel Stuck in your Industry? 4 Tips for Getting out Completely

Sometimes, when we are tired with our jobs, it may not be the environment, the pay, or the people with whom you work that bother you. Maybe it's the work itself that bothers you. You look at those in positions above you, and there's nothing about the entire industry that interests you in the slightest. You may think that there's no way out, that you've been in the industry too long to start anew. Nothing could be further from the truth, as long as you go about it the right way. Here are some tips:

1. Understand how to translate and present overlapping skills.
Almost any job imaginable shares at least a few characteristics with any other given job. If you desire a complete change in industry, take a look at your current resume. Look at every listed skill and set of experiences you have, and think of ways these skills may be used in your target industry.

2. Find different ways to get training.
Of course, if you have no prior work experience in the industry you wish to jump into, then you'll have to find a way to get some hands-on training before you go out look for a full-time job. Though it isn't easy, you can take many different approaches to training. You can take a class or two at the local community college that may be helpful. You can offer to do freelance work for free while you teach yourself new skills. Many large cities offer various training programs and conferences beyond college classes, and they're often affordable. Whatever you can do to get some experience before applying for jobs, do it.

3. Seek advice from industry professionals.
Networking during any job search is important; networking while trying to break into a new industry is doubly so. Of course, the goals of networking in these two scenarios are slightly different. If you are networking during a job search, you're doing so to find contacts for open or new positions. Networking in the latter scenario is more about just getting a feel for the industry and getting advice for starting out. Seasoned industry professionals are usually more than willing to meet enterprising prospects for coffee to chat about the industry and getting started in it.

4. Understand that your transition will take some time. Be patient.
Finding a job in and of itself usually takes at least a few months, if not longer. When you are trying to prove yourself in an entirely new industry, the duration of your job search will typically double. As such, do your research and be 100% sure that the new industry you wish to transition into is one that will keep you engaged for a few years. Breaking into a new industry is hard, but it's far from impossible.

The most important thing to remember as you try to enter a new field is that persistence and research pays off. Don't give up! Good luck!


  1. I haven't really been in the workforce for long enough to think that I'm stuck in an industry,but I see it quite frequently in my colleagues/friends. These are all great tips!

  2. Daisy,
    It is sad to think how many people out there who feel stuck in their job/industry. Can you imagine how much more work would be accomplished if people liked their job and were engaged at work. Right now I am saving my money and exploring my options. The thought of working ten+ additional years as an accounting manager at this plus is a depressing thought. Hopefully you make better decisions for yourself.

  3. Savvy, do you think the old adage is still true, that, for every $10K you want to earn, it takes a month to find the right job? So, if it's $60,000, it'll take six months? Just wondering. My daughter has a year before she graduates, and I'm already nervous for her.

  4. Monica,
    I am not sure if the old adage is true, but I do know the more money you earn the longer it takes to find the right job. Another reason why I still work here.

    As to your daughter, her employability will depend on her major, her experience and her connections. If you don’t mind sharing what is her major? (I know I should have been a guidance counselor.) She should work in an internship (even if not paid) if she has not already done so. Also, advise her to join and participate in a professional organization in her field. Most organizations have reduced costs for students. This is an excellent way to network, hear about job openings and to learn which companies to steer clear of. Many old-timers including myself love helping students.

    I attended a seminar last night on hiring snafus and learned the inside scoop into real hiring discrimination. Companies don’t want to hire married women for IT consulting positions that involve travel. So ladies take off your wedding rings before going on these types of interviews. Also, companies prefer not to hire women in their child bearing years. But the absolute largest group that are discriminated against are the over 40 group. Companies want to hire on the upswing on the bell curve of an employee’s career, not the downswing. This is so true and very hard to prove.

    All pretty depressing if you ask me.

  5. Okay, you are depressing me in terms of my prospects. Luckily, I'm in a good job right now and have been for nearly 20 years--yikes! (where does the time go? But in terms of my daughter, maybe she is on the right track, based on what you're saying. Her major is Economics. She is currently doing an internship which ends in June. And, this year, she was elected co-president of some Economics Society at her school. But I will say, internships seem very competitive, because she was looking for one for the summer and applied to many but only got one interview. Suffice it to say, she discarded the idea and is heading to Spain instead and taking another Economics class there. As for the internship she's currently doing, she really likes it and they seem to like her (from what she tells me). So hopefully she'll be okay for when she graduates. :)

  6. Yeah, I feel like I’ve been too depressingly lately, so I will be posting a success story in the new future. That is after I write about Bella’s “Stop the Insanity Challenge.”
    Your daughter certainly sounds like she is on the right track. I would recommend taking business and finance courses and to consider a minor in one of them. She is going to have a fantastic time in Spain. DH’s niece has been studying in France this semester. She has been to several countries including Spain. Can’t wait to see her when she gets home. It hasn’t been cheap though. She’s called mom and dad numerous times asking them to deposit money into her accounts.