Using Transferrable Skills to Move to a New Industry

Using Transferrable Skills to Move to a New Industry


Using transferrable skills to move to a new industry. Many of you will need to identify transferable skills and then leverage them to move to a new industry. COVID-19, climate change, and the Russian-Ukrainian war has wreaked havoc on industries differently. If you work in one of the industries most affected can you wait until it recovers or do you move to a new industry?


Changing industries particularly later in your career is very difficult. What you will discover is making this kind of transition is not easy nor is it a straight-line path. However, for many of you, if you want to make it to retirement, this may be one of your few options. Let us give you a few key steps to making this transition.


Identify Your Transferable Skills


What is a transferable skill?


According to post, Transferable Skills: Definitions and Examples, the definition is as follows:


Transferable skills are any skills you possess that are useful to employers across various jobs and industries. These might include skills like adaptability, organization, teamwork, or other qualities employers seek in strong candidates. Transferable skills can be used to position your past experience when applying for a new job—especially if it’s in a different industry.


In this same article, they list the following as the most common transferable skills:

*Technology Literacy

Notice that the first 6 skills are soft skills. For most of us who have worked for 30+ years, depend far more heavily on our soft skills and leave the hard skills to the younger crowd.


Identify both hard and soft skills that you “think” will be valued in a different industry. Notice I say “think” because as you will see later — what you “think” is irrelevant. It is what the hiring managers in the new industry “believe” that is valued.


Which of your transferable skills do you want to move to a new industry?


Identifying a Target Industry


The next step is to identify an industry to target. Notice you will need to select one and only one industry to target. Initially, you will build a list of industries to do your research on.


You will be looking for two things:


The health of the industry
Are your transferable skills desired in the target industry?


The Health of the Industry


Some industries will have to reinvent themselves like the airlines. All you have to do is look at the complete meltdown of Southwest Airlines this last holiday season. A combination of extreme weather (climate change), staffing issues caused by the pandemic, and antiquated software.


There are other industries like automotive where we do not know the long-term impacts. I live just outside of Guadalajara Mexico and there is still a shortage of new vehicles in 2023.


There is a shift to electrifying the auto industry but how fast will that happen, which companies will survive, and who might go bankrupt will be the question.


You will also need to consider the geography where you live or want to live to determine the health of the industry in that area. Check out the article Here are the U.S. cities most vulnerable to climate change, according to Moody’s. It is primarily either too much water, New York City and Miami, or too little water, Phoenix.


You will have to do your research!


Are Your Transferable Skills Desired in the Target Industry?


Let’s say you are a digital marketing executive in the hospitality industry. You may assume that your skills will translate into a lot of different online industries. You may be right but this is not something you can just assume.


This is the time to get on LinkedIn and start doing some keyword searches both targeting companies within your target industry. You want to look for people who look, taste, and smell like you. These are people who have similar backgrounds and experience to yourself but work in the target industry. This is the time to ask for AIR – Advice, Insights, and Recommendations.


Have some frank discussions with these people you reach and get their opinions. This means making yourself vulnerable but learning early that some industries do not want to hire older workers, i.e. advertising and technology, will save you time.


There is a double purpose of doing this outreach. First, you want to verify the assumptions you are making and remember making assumptions is dangerous. When you make assumptions you may be suffering from MSU disorder (MSU – Make Stuff Up).


The second purpose of doing this outreach is to cultivate a network that can help you make the leap. You will not make the move to a new industry all by yourself. You will need help in doing this.


When you complete this step pick one and only one industry to target. Do not muddle your message by trying to spread yourself across multiple industries.


Rebranding Yourself in a New Industry


We are branded in two ways in our careers, by our business skills, and by our industry knowledge. In most cases, companies put a value on industry knowledge over the right skills. When you are making a move to a new industry you have to demonstrate both.


You will have to do this by demonstrating industry expertise when you have none.


If you read the posts and listened to the podcast episodes I mentioned at the beginning of the post you will discover both the gentlemen I reference rebranded themselves by producing blogs and podcasts about the industries where they want to move.


I would encourage you to start a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel, or start publishing on Medium or LinkedIn. You will need to demonstrate that you know your stuff.


This is a key step in this process and you will need to be bold.

Have questions? Contact the Career Depot Podcast today!