There have always been jobs that come and go, but it seems like the pace of job and industry turnover is only getting faster. What do you do when your career is not only changing, but your company or industry is going away? Here are three ideas when you are leading a radical job change.
What do you do when your industry is going away? You don’t see many bayonets and horse-drawn buggies in every day life, nor are people searching the yellow pages or calling a telephone operator for a phone number. When your industry is fading away the most important thing is to find transferable skills or learn new ones. Telephone operators can multitask and research information in seconds, skills needed in help desks around the world. The yellow pages are (were) all about advertising, so emphasize your ability to sell, sell, sell. (If you aren’t sure which skills will sell, check out LinkedIn Learnings’ #FutureSkills for some ideas).
Maybe you didn’t get a golden parachute when your job ended and you need to find a survival job. A survival job is one where you absolutely need to find work right away to pay the bills. Look for an industry or company you most desire. Maybe retailing at a ski shop isn’t your dream job, but you can learn about tourism and create a new network while you are earning money. Perhaps being a part-time bank teller was not high on your list when you graduated from college, but the financial industry is booming and not a bad place to land with a possibility for advancement.
Is your industry flooded with other highly-skilled workers? If your industry is flooded with talent you have to make a choice. First, you can keep looking, amp up your resume, and networking skills. Or you can politely bow out and find something else (see “what to do when your industry is going away” for this one). A third choice is specializing like crazy. I love the idea of specializing. A friend of mine was a career coach and barely making ends meet, even though he was one of the best I ever met. One day he joked around with a potential client and said, “I only coach senior executives who mountain bike.” The client was thrilled because he did mountain bike and signed the contract that day. A week later, another mountain biking executive found my friend, and the mountain-biking-career coach’s workload began rolling in.
Perhaps the most important skill you can develop when you are changing careers is to not dwell in the past, wishing things would have turned out differently. In your last job may have had an incredible title, run an entire division, or had the biggest client in the firm, but things change. As Henry Ford (the killer of so many of those long-lost horse-drawn buggies) says, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Move forward with solutions.