5 Tips for Switching Industry
As some sectors flourish while others struggle due to the pandemic, many of you may be considering switching industry. The newspapers are full of stories of cabin crew to customer service, or ex-HR executives becoming logistics managers, and each one seems to have been successful and fulfilling.
But such “success stories” are only possible after thorough planning and preparation, not to mention a good dose of self-reflection. So, if you’re thinking of switching industry, we advise you to start with the following:
- Research, research, research
While all those stories in the press may paint a beautiful picture of opportunities in the manufacturing sector, for instance, it would be premature to jump ship immediately.
Conduct extensive research about the sector you’re interested in. You should learn about everything from what career tracks are available, to what qualifications are required, all the way down to what lingo is commonly used or how long the average workday lasts.
All this will help you make a well-informed decision about switching at the end of the day.
- Differentiate “push” and “pull” factors
Are you switching industry because you see the potential in a new position, or because you feel you’re stagnating in your old one? These are good examples of a “push” and “pull” factor, respectively.
Generally, there needs to be a sufficient number of “push” factors to make the new industry attractive enough to join on its own merit. You don’t want to be applying for a new position just because your current one is failing to deliver.
- Set some new targets
Once you’ve decided on an industry and perhaps even a specific position, it’s time to set some new job targets. What sort of work are you prepared to put in? What kind of work tasks are you looking for in your new position?
You also have a finite amount of time and money with which to accomplish these goals. Hence, planning your career switch and marking up clear goalposts of success (or failure) will help you chart your progress and evaluate it.
- Prepare yourself for the change
We’ll say it upfront: if you’re planning to change industry, be prepared for a smaller salary. After all, it’s likely that you’ll be “starting out” in the new industry, and hence be in a more junior role than what you held in your previous company. Some advise that you ensure that you have sufficient savings – preferably at least 6 months’ worth of your current income – before you make the switch, to cushion the blow.
This is just one of the many changes that may occur upon switching careers. Working hours may change, you’ll have to get used to different working styles or operational processes. Be prepared for the unexpected!
- Upskill and re-tool
Now that you’ve decided where you want to go, it’s time to begin the journey! If you’re switching to the healthcare or food supply sector, for instance, some new knowledge is definitely needed to begin working in these areas. The same goes for infocomm and data positions, which typically require a least a course in the relevant programming language or software.
Remember that good attitude surpasses good aptitude. Don’t get discouraged if the learning curve is steep, and push through as best as you can! At the job interview, the interviewer will be impressed with your can-do spirit and courage in taking up a new challenge.
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