How To Increase Your Chances Of Moving Into A New Industry or Sector

When people approach me for help in making their next career move, one of the things they often raise is a desire to move to another sector.

One would think that for professionals like accountants this should be relatively straightforward.  After all the core discipline of accounting is similar whatever industry or sector.

While this might be the case, it’s not always easy to convince recruiters and potential employers.  Some might simply doubt your ability to make the move to a new industry or sector.  Others might think that it is too much of a risk or gamble.

Is it therefore not worth considering?  I don’t think so.  At the same time don’t expect it to be easy.

So what might you do to increase your chances of success?

Thoroughly Research The Industry or Sector That Interests You

I don’t mean a quick look on Google.

What I am suggesting is an in-depth review of the industry.  This will include:

  • Reports and white papers on the key trends in the industry or sector
  • Determining the key challenges facing the industry or sector now and in the future
  • Identifying the key employers in the sector and what sets them apart from each other
  • Profiles of people working in the industry or sector on social media and in professional journals and professional institute sites
  • Details of the type of people they look to hire

As you can see this is not a 5 minute job.

Identify Skills That Are Transferrable

We all have skills that can easily be transferred from one sector to the other.  Sticking with accountants, this might include:

  • Using technology to make processes more efficient or effective
  • Being able to present complex information very simply
  • Being able to work with a range of different people across the business or organisation confidently
  • Being able to lead or manage a team of people
  • Being able to run meetings effectively

Make a list of all the skills that you see as transferrable to another sector or industry.

Work With Specialist Recruiters

A recruiter who specialises in a sector that you want to move into will be able to quickly establish if you are credible in terms of your desired sector.

A generalist is more likely to try and pitch you even when it’s clear you have little or no chance of success.

Find Out As Much As You Can About What It Is Like Doing The Type of Role You Want In The Sector

Financial services is often an area that people say they really want to work in.

As an industry or sector this is too generic.  What part of financial services really interests you and what type of role excites you?

If you have never worked in the sector, you may have pre-conceived ideas of what it will be like.

This is where your professional network can help.  They can tell you the positives and perhaps some of the less positive aspects of working in the sector.

For example, I know that a lot of people I speak to complain about the lack of breadth in the work, particularly if working for a big organisation.

Know Why

Why do you want to work in this industry or sector is a key question you have to be able to answer comprehensively and convincingly.

If you cannot articulate the why with confidence you will never get anywhere.

Create Your One Page Value Proposition

This is an extension of your professional profile and sets out:

  • What you have to offer
  • What value you bring
  • Why you are a good fit
  • What you have achieved
  • Why you would be an asset to an employer in the industry or sector that is of interest to you

The Bottom Line: While it is perhaps harder to move into a new industry or sector than it once was, there are a lot of things you can do to increase your chances of success.  You do however need to be willing to put in the time and effort.


Duncan Brodie helps accountants achieve more career success.  Learn more here

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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