If you’re in an industry that’s on the decline, it’s time to assess your skills to determine where else you can work. Don’t wait for your current employer to push you out the door. Arm yourself with a revised resume and send it out.
The key here is to devise a strategy that will give you a stronger chance of getting an interview—and ultimately a job in a better-performing industry. As I mentioned at the top of this blog, start by assessing your skills. Though your industry may be in decline, you likely have skills that will translate into success in other fields.
For example, let’s say you’re a reporter for a print newspaper that has laid off large numbers of employees over the last several years. Every time management announces a new round of layoffs, your heartbeat quickens and you tense up. Will I be on the list? you wonder every time.
If you’re the newspaper reporter in this example, it’s time to write down your skills. You will see that they include the following: writing, listening, working well under deadline, communicating well with people from many walks of life—and that’s just for starters.
After you assess your skills, whether you’re a reporter like the one in this example or hold another type of job, brainstorm other industries where your skills are sought after. The next step is to assess what additional skills those industries may require that you don’t possess. If you’re serious about making the career move, investigate how and where you can pick up the skills you lack. You might be able to pick up new skills through workshops, volunteering, or community college courses, for example.
Back to the newspaper reporter example: A reporter’s array of skills can be used in many industries, from education to nonprofits and more. The jobs a reporter could possibly qualify for include, for example, public relations specialist, journalism instructor, and technical writer. Knowing this, the reporter can craft a resume that will help him or her get a different job in a different industry.
On your resume, you can’t hide where you’ve worked—and if you’ve worked for some impressive organizations, you won’t want to. But what you’ll spotlight on a resume for a different industry won’t be what you would necessarily spotlight on a resume for your old industry. For a different industry, highlight skills that the potential employer is seeking. Any awards or commendations you’ve received for work that especially relied on those skills should be noted on your resume and higher up on it than awards that relied on other skills.
Also provide as references people who can specifically speak to how a particularly relevant skill helped your company in a tough assignment, especially if your contribution to a particular job helped the company, for example, earn more money, earn an award, or in some other way advanced the company.
Just because your industry is shrinking, that doesn’t mean you should too. No matter where you are in your career, seek to grow and prosper. That may mean taking on a new job in a new industry. Start working on that now!