Industry Shift

Pivoting Your Career Into a New Industry

Posted April 11, 2017 in Career Management, Decision Making, Latest News & Insights

Making the shift to a new industry can be very rewarding, though like any change, it typically also accompanies uncertainty. So, what’s the secret to a successful transition?  We recently sought the perspective of Roundtable members, Susan Hallsworth and Anita Mueller, on this subject. Here’s the advice that they had.

Anita Mueller, AVP, Enterprise Resource Planning at CAA South Central Ontario attributes much of her success with transitions to being inquisitive; trying to learn as much as she could using her relationships to support her along the way. The question that was most important to her, that she continued to ask herself, was “Where can I meet people and learn more?” She points out that there are opportunities to learn from those within the organization, but also industry associations and groups brought different perspectives and learning opportunities. And, taking it a step further, saw that volunteering with industry associations was an even more effective way to meet people and grow. She also notes that articles and conferences can present good opportunities to expand your learning.

Generally, Anita’s advice boils down to the following:

  • Be inquisitive
  • Be open to learning new things
  • Maintain a great network of people for support and guidance along the way

Susan Hallsworth, Associate Vice President of Partnership Development and Donor Relations at Kids Help Phone refers to three phases that help us to pivot our career into a new industry – Preparation, Application and Keep Going!

She describes preparation as the ‘runway’ before you start applying for jobs, requiring, self-assessment, industry-assessment and learning. And, she suggests the more time you can spend in this phase, the more successful you are likely to be with your transition. Start by assessing who you are now – your values, passions, skills and strengths. Consider what will be meaningful to you in the future, what skills you really want to embrace. Then do a deep dive into the industry you want to move into – identify how your skills, experience and passions are transferable. Become a professional investigative networker. Live and breathe the industry.

  • Talk to others in the industry.
  • Ask for introductions for informational interviews. Then ask each one of these people for an introduction to someone else.
  • Join and volunteer at associations.
  • Read publications.
  • Introduce yourself to industry practitioners on LinkedIn.
  • Take a course to gain accreditation or learn a new skill.

Once you are ready for the application phase, this is where you will demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and your transferable skills and experience. And, once you’ve secured your new role, Susan’s encouragement is to keep going! Continue your personal growth through certifications, memberships and volunteer opportunities in the industry.

Pivoting your career is hard work and takes some courage. But, as it is said “Change is the heartbeat of growth.”


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