Given that some industries have been harder hit than others during the pandemic, you may find yourself in a position where you’re looking for a new role, carrying out job searches and evaluating new potential role requirements. While a career change may be tough at the moment, one of the big advantages job seekers have during these times are transferable skills, such as language abilities, which could easily make you a strong and viable candidate for roles in other sectors. So how do you go about maximising your chances of success in the current job market?

Getting a job in a different industry

First, make sure that your CV is up to date. Hiring managers will be looking for evidence that your skills and experience match up their requirements. So if, for example, you’ve been working in customer services in the retail sector, you could target a similar role in the automotive sector. Or if you’ve been working in an admin role in the legal space, you could target an admin job posting in banking. Make sure you include all relevant examples of previous experience and responsibilities in your CV hiring managers can easily identify how your skills can be transferred.

The most important thing to do is customise or tailor your CV as you have to show the hiring manager that you cover off all the attributes that are listed in their job description, especially the essential ones. Going through the requirements will also tell you if you are a close match for the job. Be sure to quantify your achievements where possible, so if you’ve been working in sales, you should mention numbers and targets that demonstrate your successes. Or if you’ve saved your company money by implementing a new system or software programme, say so!  

When going through a career transition and looking to switch sectors, it is also particularly important that you do your research. This is vital, so find out everything you can about the company, look at their website and read the latest press releases and industry news. Do what it takes and spend the time to make your application stand out. If you’re asked to provide a cover letter, this is a golden opportunity to go into more detail here about the contribution you can make and why you believe the role and company are right for you.

Different job or totally new career?

Think about upskilling too. If you feel that there’s a course that can give you an edge, go for it. It could be an evening or weekend class in which you could learn a new skill that could make a big difference to your application. Your appetite for learning should never stop, regardless of your work situation – it’s an investment in your career, it demonstrates your initiative and desire to progress. It’s a sure-fire way to boost your chances of landing an interview and impress your interviewer.

If you’re a languages graduate or can speak other languages, don’t just casually mention it in your CV, provide examples where you had to use them in your job. Proficiency in any of a number of languages sets you apart. Many organisations are looking for bilingual individuals and you’ll often find that knowledge of a second or multiple languages is an essential or desirable attribute. So, target roles where you could use your languages, and if you don’t have language skills, why not enrol on a course and add a new dialect to your arsenal? 

For those looking at a complete change of career, again you need to do your research first to make sure that it’s the right choice for you. You might want to visit your local careers office or even speak to a careers counsellor. They will have lots of information about many careers, so find out as much as you can. Talk to people in your network, reach out to companies you want to work for and those working in the role you’d like to be doing. You’ll be surprised at people’s generosity with their time and advice.  

Remember that you have many skills that employers want. Just make sure you put in the effort, whether it’s on research, finessing your CV, writing a cover letter, networking or upskilling. Hard work really does pay off. Getting a job in a new sector or changing career path altogether can be a hugely exciting and rewarding career step which can have a very positive effect on your work-life balance. 

And finally, keep positive. You will find the right role, it’s just a matter of time.

Top 5 tips when looking for a role in a different sector

  • Tailor your CV to the role and job description
  • Use the cover letter to impress hiring managers
  • Conduct thorough research about the company
  • Target roles where you can use your language skills
  • Network and speak to people in the industry

Top 5 tips when changing career

  • Think about your passions and transferable skills
  • Find out everything about your new career
  • Consider upskilling/studying for a relevant qualification
  • Visit your local careers office/speak to an adviser
  • Contact people in similar roles and ask for their advice

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