How do I transition into a new industry? Maybe it’s just pure luck.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job SearchNetworking
As I’ve traveled throughout the country, attending our Executives Network Job Search Meetings, I realized that the same conversations were taking place regardless of city. What they talked about in Chicago – they talked about in Silicon Valley. The thoughts on people’s minds in Dallas were the same thoughts in Phoenix. And that’s when I got the idea that we had to get everyone in the same “virtual” room and take the conversation further.
So, this week, Executives Network had its first national teleconference. Lots of people around the country talking about a specific topic – in this case, Alternative Energy. We wanted to answer questions like: How do I transition into this industry? Who are the players? What are the opportunities? What can I learn from others targeting the same industry as me?
Michael Ludgate, an EN Member, was our featured guest. He talked about how he successfully transitioned into the Solar industry. What he DIDN’T do was sit at the computer and search for job postings all day. What he DID do – took a little more effort, but was far more effective.
Michael networked his way to the job! (I know, networking, big surprise! You don’t think I’d feature anyone who got a job from a job posting? Has anyone ever gotten a job from a posting at the higher levels?)
When he first decided to target Solar, he read up on the industry. Then, he did the smartest thing a job seeker could do…and turned the computer off! He got out and attended every solar and alternative energy event he could find. He went to local get-togethers, regional meetings, national conferences.
A couple months into his search, he started sporting the nametag “Solar Mike” at every event. His reputation soon grew – as someone obviously in the Solar industry. Why else would he wear a nametag like that? If people asked, he would just tell them he was really passionate about Solar. After all, it’s only a nametag.
All told, he met with more than 200 people in the industry. And it was through one of these meetings, with one of his target companies, that he landed the perfect job in Solar. Do you think he was lucky? Maybe. But as my college friend, Maurice, always used to say “Luck comes to those who work hard to make it happen.”
Michael certainly worked hard to make his luck happen.
Michael had much to share with the group about the process of transitioning into Solar. But three things he said struck me as great lessons for anyone – regardless of the industry you’re pursuing:
- Some will. Some won’t. So what. Some people will be very helpful. In fact you’ll be surprised how much people will help you. On the other hand, some won’t be helpful at all. So what. Move on.
- Never underestimate the power of someone else’s network. Every time you’re given a lead, pursue those opportunities. You have no idea who these people know – or who their network knows. Pursue all leads diligently. The lead you never followed up on could’ve been the one that led you to your dream job. Can you afford to chance it?
- “I’m one networking contact away from finding my dream job.” Continue to motivate and reinforce your networking effort by reminding yourself just that! Remember, you don’t need to find ten jobs, you just need to find one. The right one.
If you’re planning to transition to another industry, then do yourself a favor, and get relevant. Get embedded in that industry. Get to know the companies. Get to know the players. Arm yourself with knowledge and contacts so that, despite the fact that you have no industry experience, you know what’s going on.
Just remember, the more people you talk to, the more information you’ll find, the more companies you’ll discover, the more opportunities you’ll uncover. Put in some serious effort – and increase your odds of being truly lucky!