What You Should Know BEFORE Changing Industries in Technology


The far-reaching effects of COVID-19 have technologists across the country closely examining their own careers. Whether still working, furloughed, or laid off entirely, it goes without saying that the workforce as we know it has changed.


While we’re waiting for the new normal to start, people are clinging to their current jobs for security and steady income. Those who have been furloughed or laid off are trying to find new positions, and with that, they may make the choice to switch out of their industry. 


According to Syfter’s market research (available on our website, www.syfter.com), 78% of #toptechtalent surveyed would be willing to switch industries post-COVID-19. That’s a significant portion of technologists considering making a move. 


This can be a difficult choice, especially for technologists who may have planned their whole careers to be in a single industry, but with the changes in the economy, and with some industries doing better than others, it is the best choice for some. 


When it comes to finding a job after a crisis, such as the financial crisis of 2008 or the dot-com bubble crashing in 2000, you shouldn’t worry about gaps in your resume lessening your chances. Most hiring managers give what I call a “HALL PASS,” where if a certain event on your resume is related to the crisis, it’s automatically disqualified from acting as a deterrent for the newest opportunity. Instead of worrying, view this as a chance to take a new opportunity.  If this is a choice that you are making, there are things you need to keep in mind to make your transition between industries successful. 


Reach out to friends in an industry to learn more about it, and consider reaching out to colleagues who have made an industry switch to get their perspective. 

The best advice you can get is going to be from people who have already done it. Each industry has its own quirks, its own lingo, and its own limitations, and the best way to be prepared is to get the inside scoop from people who know it well. Make sure you’re up to date on things like industry terms and current news. You want to look like an expert, even if you’ve never touched it professionally before. 

By reaching out to colleagues who have already switched industries, you can feel better prepared for what challenges they faced, and hopefully, you’ll be able to avoid them by having a better sense of what you need to do in order to accomplish this move. Your professional network will likely be more than happy to advise you.


Educate yourself on the new industry.

When you walk into an interview, you’re going to have to convince a hiring manager that you deserve the job more than an industry veteran. You don’t want to sell yourself short or make a silly mistake, so make sure you do your research beforehand. Read publications by thought leaders in the industry. Keep up on the daily news and developments in your chosen industry, and engage in conversations with professionals about what you learn. 


Talk to a recruiter that specializes in that industry.

They’ll be your best source of information about what you’ll need to be able to succeed in the field. If there’s a shortage of a certain skill, or if there’s a specific must-know technology, they can tell you about it. This is your best bet for understanding exactly what real jobs are asking for, and hopefully, the recruiter can even get your resume submitted to some of those jobs to help you get a jumpstart on your new career. 


Create your pitch.

When going on interviews, many managers may be hesitant to hire someone new to the industry. You want to have your elevator pitch for yourself ready to go at a moment’s notice. Convince your interviewer that you are the perfect candidate for this job; tell them how your experience will translate and talk about how passionate you are about the company. 


Don’t be scared - just go for it. 

There are some things in life you just have to do full speed or not at all.  Everyone thinks that their own industry is the one that moves the fastest but the truth is, they’re all relatively similar. Tech is tech, and with the way the job market is now, with the “HALL PASS” I mentioned earlier, if you ever wanted to try something new, now is the time.

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