Tips to get a job in a new industry

Last updated: February 28, 2024
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Kai Dickerson
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Tips to get a job in a new industry
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Career transitions aren't uncommon. Last year, 53% of working Americans who left their jobs moved on to a different industry or job type.

Gone are the days when people would stay in the same job for their entire working life. If your current industry no longer fits your goals, you can try a new career path.

Changing roles does require planning. You can't always just quit your job and get a new one in an entirely different field.

If you're serious about making the switch, we've got you covered. In this article, we'll give you our top tips for getting a job in a new industry.

Why do people change industries?

People have different motivations for changing industries. Some want a better work-life balance, with hours that suit their lifestyle.

For example, you may want to switch from night shift to day shift. Alternatively, you may be looking for a remote or hybrid position.

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Another reason people change industries is that they need a new challenge. If you’ve been in a role for a while, doing the same duties each day can feel repetitive.

Some industries have limited options for career progression. If you want to work your way up the career ladder, a new industry could open up opportunities.

You may be looking for a higher-paying role to suit a change in your circumstances. Or, the role that you're trained for might not be available in your area. For example, if you have a background working in aviation, you may have moved to a new town without an airport.

Can you change industries without experience?

The answer depends on the industry that you want to get into.

Some careers require a degree or certification. For example, if you want to work in the hospitality industry, you may want to get a job in business operations. A course in business management will give you an advantage.

You can also use your existing, transferable skills to make an industry switch. Cash handling skills, good customer service, and leadership skills can all be used in other industries.

You can even study while you work. Let's say being a lawyer is your dream job. You could use your experience in, say, administration to get a job as a paralegal at a law firm. While you make money, you can study law.

If you want an entry-level position, you won't need any experience.

9 tips to get a job in a new industry

Do you want to mix things up and change industries? Here are our top nine tips to help you get a job in a different field.

1. Do your research

The first thing you need to do is research the industry. How does it differ from the one you're already in? How competitive is it? Is it a growing industry with a good job outlook?

You can get information online and follow industry groups on social media. For example, if you're considering changing to a career in nursing, you can connect with the American Nurses Association.

You can also look up specific jobs on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website. You can learn about potential income and job prospects.

If there's a job you're interested in, you can read job descriptions so you know what to expect. Look at the typical duties and minimum requirements. Our job board is a good place to start.

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2. Grow your network

Changing your career path will be easier when you have a supportive network. The people around you can help you get a job.

You may know someone in a management position who could vouch for your work ethic. They may even know a company that is hiring.

If you don't know anyone in your chosen industry, it's time to build your list of connections. Ask your friends and family members if they know anyone who they can introduce you to.

Another way to grow your network is online. When you create a Jobcase profile, you can contribute to our community discussions. If there's someone you're interested in talking to, send them a connection request.

Make sure you focus on connections that have relevant industry experience.

3. Know what skills you need

Before you apply for a job in a new industry, check out what types of skills you need. What skills are potential employers looking for?

If you focus on soft skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership skills, you may find you already have what it takes.

There'll also be technical skills, and some will be industry-specific. Others will be more general, such as computer skills, cash handling skills, and basic math skills.

Different jobs suit different personality types. If you want to transition to a role in education, you'll need to be patient, organized, and assertive. If you'd prefer to work in construction, you'll need to be physically fit with good time management skills and attention to detail.

4. Refresh your resume

Once you know what skills you need, you can get to work on your resume. What was relevant to your current job may not be suitable for another industry.

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If you don't have relevant experience, you should still include your work history. List your employment in chronological order, and try to find ways to connect your previous job duties to the position.

Have you worked in food services and want to switch to retail? You can highlight your ability to meet customer demands and experience using a cash register.

Or, if your current role is in a bank and you want to work in administration, making phone calls and filing paperwork could be a feature on your resume.

Make sure your contact information is updated and your resume is less than two pages long.

You can use these simple tips to customize your resume for each job.

5. Upskill

If you're having trouble changing industries, it might be time to upskill. Even if potential employers offer training, extra learning can make your resume shine.

When you upskill, it shows you're serious about the career change. You can enroll in a course at a community college or complete training online.

The option you choose will depend on what you want to achieve. For example, a heavy vehicle license could help you get a job as a truck delivery driver. A first-aid certificate can help you get a job working in the community. A short course that teaches you to master Microsoft Office can be beneficial for an office job.

Remember, some career pathways will require a degree. If you want to be a teacher, accountant, or engineer, for example, you'll need to go back to college.

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Once again, look at job descriptions and speak to your professional network. Skills and education can be essential or desirable depending on the position.

6. Work your way up

You may be a superstar in your current role. You've probably worked hard to get where you are, and you may even have a prime position.

When you change careers, you may have to start at the bottom. If it's a completely new field, you should be prepared to start from scratch and work your way up.

An entry-level position could be the key to breaking into the industry. Or, you may have to start with a part-time job if it's the only option available.

If it's a blue-collar job, you can try to get an apprenticeship with on-the-job training. Examples of high-paying blue-collar jobs include electricians, plumbers, and boilermakers.

Having a temporary pay cut can be worth it if you find an industry you’re truly passionate about.

7. Volunteer

Volunteering has a range of benefits. It makes you feel good and boosts your confidence. Plus, you can make friends.

How does donating your time help you change careers? Volunteering in the community can give you new skills and improve existing ones. You can even volunteer in your target industry to get direct experience.

Here are some examples. If you want a job in a restaurant, volunteering at a soup kitchen will give you food-handling skills.

Is working in finance your dream pathway? Put your hand up to manage the budget at your child's soccer club.

Maybe you'd prefer to work in a conservation role. If so, spend your free time planting trees.

Make sure you list any volunteer work on your resume.

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8. Prepare for the interview

Getting invited to a job interview in a new industry is a positive step. It means the hiring manager liked your resume and wants to know more about you.

You'll get the standard interview questions, and you can practice your answers ahead of time.

Plus, there'll be one other question you should expect: "Why do you want to change careers?"

Try to be positive and speak with confidence when you give your answer. There are a few ways you can respond to this. Here are a few examples.

You can talk about your passion and values:

"I want to work as a health aide because I genuinely care about helping others. I've always been passionate about community service and feel I'd be a good fit for this industry."

You can talk about your goals:

"My previous industry is changing, and there are fewer opportunities available. I'm looking for a long-term career with options for development and progression."

You can talk about your strengths:

"I believe my experience in computing would be an asset to the business industry. I'm interested in using my skills to achieve different results."

9. Be honest with yourself

A successful transition is possible, but you should be honest with yourself. Do you really want to switch careers? Or are you just bored with your current job?

Taking a break or changing employers could be enough to make you feel positive about your current role.

It really depends on WHY you want to change. For example, if you want to switch industries because of work-life balance, your employer may have options for remote work or reduced hours.

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Give yourself time to think it through. Once you're sure it's what you want, you can make it happen. Don’t forget to be confident in your decision because you have a lot to offer.

What are the top transferable skills?

We’ve already mentioned a few of the top transferable skills. If you are looking to change careers, your transferable skills can be the key to success.

Transferable skills fall into different categories, including:

Basic skills

Basic skills are essential in any work environment. Basic skills include listening, communication, and the ability to carry out instructions.

People skills

People skills include a wide range of abilities that help you interact with others in an effective and pleasant way. It’s important to have the skills necessary to communicate and work with others. Effective people skills include

  • assertiveness

  • self-confidence

  • open-mindedness

  • teamwork

  • empathy

  • understanding boundaries

  • good manners / being polite

  • problem-solving

Leadership skills

Even if you’ve never "been the boss," you may have experience overseeing other people’s work. If you’ve trained a new employee or helped set shift schedules, those are great management skills to showcase. Patience, time management, and the ability to work under pressure are also desirable skills.

Clerical skills

Clerical expertise is knowing how to use administrative systems and functions, such as phones and email, Microsoft Office products, and internal systems. Examples of internal systems include warehouse management software, point-of-sale systems, manufacturing and retail fulfillment software, and billing and invoice software.

Research and planning skills

These transferable skills include the ability to organize, solve problems, set goals, prioritize tasks, develop and implement policies and procedures, and locate and reach out to suppliers or subcontractors.

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Switching industries for a fulfilling career

If your current job is no longer right for you, a career change could be a good option.

Switching industries doesn’t have to be difficult. Before you start, make sure you do your research. And be honest with yourself about the reasons why you want a change.

The people around you may know someone who is hiring, so focus on growing your network. Then, read job descriptions to find out what skills you need, and use this information to refresh your resume.

Be prepared to upskill or work your way up the ladder. Finally, prepare for a job interview and practice your answers before the day.

Get set to start your job search by visiting our job board. Want more tips and advice? Our resource center is the place to be.

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Eiad Qalaje
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Finance Accountant at United Nation

I am looking for a remote job as accountant, I am certified CMA and I got my MBA degree recently

47w
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Desimarie Wright
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Family Support Worker at Jewish Child Care Association

Hello can you please assist me in remote work? I have 4 years experience. Thank you

47w
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Marjorie Smith
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I need extra income but I have no experience and no diploma is there anything out there for me

2y
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Jacqueline Myles
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Customer Service Associate

Thanks Kai Dickerson this is good information I was just thinking about how I would be a good candidate for another position in another field as you said in your article about hospitality and tourism jobs may not come back as fast or even if companies will recover from this, so I ask myself where will my skills be must needed, and I thank you once again for reminding me that good customer service skills can go well in mostly any industry .

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Ford Simpson
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Jack of all trades,.master of none

Great information Kai,I have worked with people while at the zoo and giving tours also at UPS(when I wasn't being chased by dogs). Would like to change jobs but the timing is something that I will be leery about. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush,Ford

3y
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zepora merritt
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Customer Service Representative at Kelly Services

Thanks for the advice I hadn't looked at it in that way, yes I really needed reminding and again thanks for the help

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Javier Mairena
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Hello Jay, contact your State Representative for help and your PUA benefits I got help in Arizona since it was a nightmare dealing with Unemployment and getting through to them, God bless!

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Jay Felts
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I am a single father two children and I have been approved for pua and haven’t received anything. This pandemic has effected me since March because my kids are homeschooled and I am unable to work. We are now at a point I don’t know what to do.

3y
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