When you work in a certain field, it’s essential to develop specific skills that will help you achieve your professional goals and thrive. But some skills are more valuable than others, depending on the type of job you have. A person who works in human resources or sales, for instance, should be personable and friendly, since both occupations involve human interaction.
You may think it's extremely difficult to venture into a new industry if you don’t possess the necessary qualities. But that doesn't have to be the case.
When you're considering making a career change, the best way to promote yourself as a qualified candidate is to highlight your transferable skills that can apply to multiple industries.
Identify your strengths.
The first thing that you should do when you know that it’s time to switch jobs is to pinpoint what exactly you’re bringing to the table. This is an important step in the job-hunting process regardless of what field you’re working in and what field you’re looking to break into. But it’s even more critical if you’re applying for a job that you've never done before.
Once you can name some key skills that you have, explain why each trait is advantageous to possess.
While some skills may have universal benefits, others may need to be tailored to specific jobs.
Let’s say that you were previously a project manager at a software company, but you are now interested in sales.
... confidence and patience are both transferable skills that would probably be appreciated no matter what industry someone works in.
At first glance, these two jobs do not have much in common. But what you may not realize right away is that some vital qualities of successful salespeople are their ability to have confidence in themselves and their judgement, as well as have patience with the people they interact with. As a project manager, you most likely need to demonstrate these same characteristics as well. In fact, confidence and patience are transferable skills that would be appreciated no matter where you go.
Consequently, when you update your resume, emphasize your ability to think on your feet without getting tangled up in self-doubt and say that you work well with people of all personality types. This may be just the information that catches an employer’s attention.
It’s done all the time!
Some people work in one trade their entire life, while others switch occupations many times. Some people might like to change industries in order to figure out what they really want to do and find their niche, but others might like to start fresh in an entirely new field.
For instance, when Brent Sopel retired from the NHL in early 2015, he never thought that he would become vice president of business development for the Chicago branch of MerchantPro Express—a premier credit-card process company based on Long Island. Yes, a career in merchant services is quite different from professional hockey (to say the least), and Sopel did need to learn more about the industry before he got started. But he already possessed certain transferable skills that are priceless in any field. Not only is he driven, but he also knows how to be part of a team and work with others toward a common goal.
No matter what field you're currently working in, there’s a good chance that you exhibit certain special attributes that can be applied to other areas. All you have to do is take the time to identify what your transferable skills are and how you can market yourself to your next employers.
Interested in going into merchant sales? Learn more about the merchant-sales consultant job offered at MPX.