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How to Move Into a Role in a New Sector

Published 24th Apr 2023

There comes a time in most of our lives when we look for new horizons. Whether it’s through choice or necessity many of us will make the move into a completely new sector than the one we’re currently working in. It can be daunting but it can also be supremely rewarding. Here we look at how you can take the plunge and make the move.

A change in career

There are numerous examples of people successfully changing careers. Nick Jenkins, the man who founded Moonpig, was formerly a commodities trader in Moscow and the co-founder of Mumsnet and Gransnet, Justine Roberts (MBE) used to be a sports journalist.

Clearly we can’t all be famous for doing what we do, but we can be successful with a second or even a third career that doesn’t relate to what we’ve done before. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish it.

Think about where you excel

Your current role will have given you a skillset which you can take forward into your next job, but you should also think about your transferable skills which can fill the gaps in what a future employer wants and needs. 

Look at your current job description and at the results of any appraisals you’ve recently had and think about the things you did well. They won’t all be current-job related and some will add value to your future applications, giving you a competitive edge. Concentrate on things such as your communication skills, what leadership qualities you might have, and any customer service attributes, at whatever level – they are qualities that an employer will value whatever your previous experience and whatever your previous sector or specialism. 

Don’t worry if you think that your skills are ‘unusual’ or they’re not relevant to the job you’re applying for – in fact they will help you stand out against other applicants who may have identical skills and abilities. 

Tailor your cover letter

Every role you apply for should have its own cover letter, specifically-tailored for that individual job. It’s your chance to highlight not only what you’re good at, but your interest in the role and the reason you’re looking to change direction. 

Your cover letter can go into more detail about why you’ve decided to change sectors or careers and draw attention to particular areas in your CV that you’re keen to highlight. 

It’s a good idea to look at the language and terminology used in any job ad, and adapt your cover letter to include reference to those personal qualities, skills and experience which will make you an asset to your potential employer. 

Do your research

In order to demonstrate that you’re really serious about a role within a new sector and your desire for change isn’t just a whim you need to research your intended sector thoroughly. What is it exactly that attracts you to it? Have you been considering this move for a long time? Can you show a potential employer that you have looked into it properly? Do you have a good grasp of industry terminology and methodologies? Can you talk about any issues or difficulties facing the sector currently? What solutions would you offer in those situations?

A great way of demonstrating your knowledge of your desired sector is to have undertaken training – it shows an immediate and serious intent. You can also volunteer – in this way you’ll gain valuable experience as well as a deeper understanding of relevant topics, and meet people who share your views and values. Utilise LinkedIn and connect with people you admire within the industry, and keep abreast of news by subscribing to relevant publications, companies or industry bodies. 

Finally, and this is probably the most important step you can take, you should speak to a recruitment specialist who can act as your mentor in your pursuit of a new challenge. Here at McCarthy Recruitment we pride ourselves on the level of commitment we offer to candidates – offering them advice, knowledge and support as well as honest and positive feedback. Your recruitment consultant will be your best asset through a process of change in which you’re both aiming for the same goal – your new role in your new, chosen sector.

If you’d like more advice about a career change you can talk to us. Call us on 0161 828 8726, email us at enquiries@mccarthyrecruitment.com or fill out the contact form here.

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