4 Things to Consider Before You Switch Industries

4 Things to Consider Before You Switch Industries

Considering jumping ship? The urge to “do what you love” often gnaws at people until a drastic decision is made—leaving the comfort and security of a full-time job to chase a passion. For the lucky ones, switching lanes is simple—moving from book publishing to magazine publishing, for example. But for most others, switching careers often means switching industries entirely, and having to rebuild from the ground up. Here are a few things to prepare for if you plan on switching industries:

Your Idea of the Industry May Be Wrong

The longer you stay in an industry you no longer desire, the more likely you are to imagine the industry you want to work in as  “perfect”. Without proper research and preparation, you’ll end up in a brand new industry, only to realize that things aren’t what you thought they’d be.

To combat this, you need to immerse yourself in the industry before actually making the switch. Find people in your network that work in the industry and see if they’d be willing to answer any questions you have over lunch (or even over the phone). Research companies in the industry on Glassdoor and see what employees have to say about everyday work life. Do everything possible to find out what life inside the industry is really like before taking the plunge.

Don’t Assume Your Experience Transfers

Accomplishing a lot in your current career or industry may not hold much weight in a completely different industry. Grasping at straws on your resume to try and make vague connections to the new job in the new industry you’re applying to is noticeable, and only highlights that you don’t have as much to offer as other applicants. This leads us to our next point…

You Need to Rebuild Your Skills and Network

Before switching industries, be sure you’re equipped with the right skills and capabilities needed to ensure your success. This may take some time, but fortunately there are more tools than ever that give you the power to learn from the comfort of your own home—such as Codecademy or Khan Academy. In some cases, this also requires heading back to school, or attaining a professional designation.

While you’re rebuilding your skills, you also need to rebuild your network. Rebuilding your network not only gives you a better chance of landing a job in your desired industry, but also gives you access to a wider field of experts that you can turn to when needing industry related insights, as we discussed earlier.

Be Prepared to Build Your New Career From the Group Up

This may be the toughest pill to swallow, but needs to be stressed: switching industries often means starting at a more junior (lower salaried) position than what you’re used to.

You’ll need to prove to the company that hires you that you can handle the pressures, tasks, responsibilities, learning curve, and more, that the new industry presents, before working your way to the position (and, again, salary) that you actually desire. This will take time, but if you’re willing to work for it, you’ll end up where you want to be, doing something you love.