Transferable skills and executive job seeking.
In today's job market, especially with the effects of Covid taking its toll on industries left, right and center, it can seem extremely daunting to be looking for a change in career; whether by choice or necessity. One of the largest apparent barriers at an executive level is seeing how your experience and hard-earned skillset can be transferable. This is not an uncommon concern by any stretch of the imagination, but rest assured, you do have transferable skills and there are companies spread across numerous industries who will be needing people like you, now possibly more than ever.
It will be clear to anyone who has been in a position of hiring new talent that the obvious favour normally falls onto those with direct industry experience. However these days it is becoming more and more normal for employers to be willing to search outside the box and look at potential candidates with different backgrounds as they vie for competitive advantages.
Some of the main reasons an employer will seek out candidates with backgrounds outwith their particular industry are as follows:
The employer is looking to diversify into new markets and requires someone with a relevant background to smooth the process.
The employer is interested simply in managerial skills rather than industry knowledge.
The company has a specific culture or values and requires a candidate who will embody the image they wish to live up to.
The position requires the management of a number of accounts or external relationships, whereby broader experience will be extremely useful.
Of course, there are many more reasons why an employer might be interested in a candidate with less industry-specific experience, but these are some key examples.
With the upheaval in the last year or so across so many industries, and especially now as the world starts to try and claw its way towards what will be our new normality, the demand for a "fresh pair of eyes" has never been higher. Strong leadership qualities, research, and planning abilities, excellent communication and interaction skills - These are among the main selling points that an executive-level candidate will need to be able to demonstrate in today's climate more than ever before.
If you have found yourself in the position, by choice or not, of seeking new opportunities, then you can do a number of things to tip the balance in your favour.
Research - It is easier than ever to conduct in-depth research on your chosen new industry or company. The information is out there; utilise tools like Linkedin and find what skills are promoted by current employees at your desired level. Don't be put off by job descriptions if you don't have the "required" skills, because the chances are you will have parallel skills which can easily be transferred.
Identify and back up your skills - It should go without saying, but it is easy to check on claimed talents. Knowing your strong points and being able to demonstrate these are a necessity.
Network - If you don't already, find people in your desired industry and reach out to them. The old adage that "you can never have too many friends" is just as prevalent in the business world as it is anywhere else. Someone in your network might just have the opportunity or the information you need to get your foot in the door.
Craft the right CV for the role - Creating an appropriate CV may seem a large obstacle, especially if you don't feel that you tick the boxes required for the role. But spend the time to identify the skills and experiences that would make you a good candidate, rather than the unrelated industry experience, and illustrate how these will allow you to succeed in real-life scenarios.
The main thing to remember when you go for a position in a completely new industry is that you are rebranding yourself. It’s not about your specific knowledge, but about all of the skills and experience that you have gathered over the years and how you can direct those to benefit your new prospective employer in your new prospective industry.
The world is in a new and previously unprecedented place right now and innovative, flexible, and strong leadership is going to be needed across the board.
So whatever your background, you’ve put in the time and energy to reach your level and to develop and polish your skill set.
You are in demand.