Swapping Sectors: Make a Difference with Transferable Skills

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As a recruiter, I often hear from candidates wishing they could swap industries or sectors. There are plenty of reasons why they wish to do so.

Boredom and career burnouts are big contributors, of course. And sometimes, people will realize that other industries offer far higher rates of pay than the one they currently inhabit. For many, it’s an impossible dream.


However, for anyone looking to swap sectors, I will always tell them the same thing: it’s a lot simpler than most people think.

The key to success is transferable skills – and this guide is going to outline some crucial points you need to know.


1. Choosing the right career

Some careers are more adaptable than others. Take mechanical engineering for example. There is an enormous array of work available in just about every sector, from aerospace to transportation.

And the skills you learn at college or on further education courses can lay the foundation for entry to any of them.

It doesn’t take too much training per say, take you from working for a hydraulic fittings company to getting a job looking after hydraulic pumps on an oil rig.

And in the vast majority of cases, employers will hire engineers from different sectors rather than training them up from scratch.

The only trouble with this is that not everyone knows what they want to do, until much later on in life. And in this case, there are plenty more generic, transferable skills that can help.


2. Generic skills

When recruiters and employers look at your CV, they go far deeper than just your current job title. They want to know about your relevant skills and experience that can improve their company.

There are some core competencies that can be transferred to any industry, and it’s vital you can highlight your abilities in these fields.

Skills such as communication, research, interaction, and management can be used in every sector.


3. Putting transferable skills into practice

Of course, its all well and good saying you are an excellent communicator and leader. But recruiters and employers need to know your communication and leadership can bring value to their business.

You will need to look at your successes, but also explain how you achieved them.

You will need to remember the problems you solved, and how you overcame those challenges. You’ll need to consider your personal qualities – and how they helped you do your job in the best possible way. Can you see a pattern emerging here?

It’s not about your skills as such – it’s about how you use them that will impress recruiters and employers.


4. Understanding the sector

Finally, there is a lot of work to do before you can even consider swapping industries. When you go for another job, finding out about your prospective employer is critical. But when you trade sectors, you’re going to have to learn a lot more.

Take your time to educate yourself, and look at the common denominators with your current industry. Once you understand the links, you can then start to apply for a new sector role – and expect success, rather than hope for it.



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