If you’re an IT professional and you feel like you’ve been stuck in a rut in your career, it may be time to make a change.
If you’re a database administrator, for example, but you’re more interested in big data and business intelligence, you may want to explore your options – and move into a career as a Business Intelligence Analyst.
But how can you do that? How can you move into a different role in a new industry without starting over completely? Let’s explore a few of the best strategies for IT professionals who are looking to break into a new industry now.
1. Find Out What Skills Are Desirable In The Industry
First, you’ll need to determine if your goal of breaking into a new industry is reasonable – and if you can meet the qualifications and develop the skills that are required to do so.
One of the best ways to find out what skills are desirable in the industry is to simply look through posted job listings for your desired role. It’s easy to find open opportunities on websites like Monster, Indeed and CareerBuilder. You don’t need to apply for these roles just yet – you’re just going to be looking through them to collect data.
As you look at these job listings, start creating a list or a spreadsheet. Write down the skills, experiences, and certifications that are needed for the role and look for similarities and common requirements that you’re noticing in most of the job postings.
A good next step is to use a website like LinkedIn, and look for people who currently hold the position you’d like to move into. What do their experiences and education look like? Do you see a lot of overlap with the skills you noticed while looking at job postings?
2. Identify Your Transferable Skills & Experiences
Once you’ve identified the skills and experiences that are required in your desired industry, it’s time to do some analysis of your qualifications for the role. Look for the skills and experiences that will transfer to that new role.
As you take the time to identify your transferable skills and experiences, it’s a good idea to note the ones that are not as relevant in the new industry, and de-emphasize these when you’re crafting your resume and applying for positions.
3. Find Gaps In Your Knowledge – And Work To Fill Them
This is a very powerful strategy for IT professionals who are looking to break into a new industry. If you’ve taken the time to understand the required qualifications for the role you want – and your own transferable skills – you’ll have a good idea of the major gaps in your knowledge.
The next step you should take is to begin filling these gaps in your knowledge. If you want to become a business intelligence analyst, for example, you can begin learning more about tools used in the industry, such as Tableau, and take courses to learn more about the basics of business intelligence.
Remember, you don’t have to make a switch in your career right away. You can take the time to study, educate yourself on the tools and skills required for your desired role, and ensure that you are prepared to handle the requirements of the new position.
4. Retool Your Personal Brand Position For The New Role
This is a very important step in applying for roles in a new industry. If you’re an IT administrator, your resume and your personal brand are probably positioning you as just that – an IT administrator.
But that’s not what you want. When you begin applying for jobs in a new role and industry, you’ll want your personal brand position to emphasize your suitability for that role – not your old role.
In the service of this, you’ll want to take the time to redo your resume, LinkedIn profile, website, social media presence, and other such personal branding. Emphasize the skills that you know are in-demand for your desired role, and de-emphasize the skills and experiences that are not directly applicable.
You don’t necessarily want to remove any trace of your old role or industry. However, you do want to have a forward-looking perspective. Your goal should be to present yourself as a great candidate for your desired position, and use your past experiences and skills to show that you’re the right fit for the position.
5. Demonstrate Value Through Your Past Successes
Even if your past experiences, project successes and personal achievements do not have much to do with the industry that you’re trying to break into, it’s still a good idea to emphasize them when building your personal brand, writing your resume, and discussing your qualifications with interviewers.
Why? Because past successes demonstrate your value and your ability to make positive changes in your workplace environment – even when they are not directly applicable to the role that you’re applying for. This, in turn, helps establish your credibility and helps you seem like a more desirable candidate for your desired role.
6. Learn Everything You Can About The Industry
This is another important strategy to use before making the switch to a new industry – for a few reasons. First, knowing a lot about the industry – major companies and well-known individuals in the industry, for example – will help establish your expertise and credibility in interviews.
In addition, learning more about the industry helps ensure that it’s actually a good fit for you. For example, if you can interview someone who has the role you want and learn more about how the position works and what to expect, you’ll develop a better understanding of whether or not it’s worth switching your industry.
So learn everything you can about your new industry. See if you can find opportunities for cross-training at your current job. Go to seminars and conferences that are relevant to the industry. Take classes online or in-person. Read books about the subject. Consider volunteering, interning or consulting in the industry – do everything you can to develop your skills and knowledge of the industry, and you’ll be a more attractive candidate.
Follow This Guide To Break Into A New Industry As An IT Professional!
With these 7 time-tested strategies, you can begin repositioning yourself for a new role in IT – or even outside the world of information technology. The transition into a new role, environment or industry is not always easy – but these strategies will help you land a job in a new industry, and ensure that you have the knowledge you need to handle your new responsibilities.