~ This post is part of a Q&A series with a Maybrooks career coach. Have a question? Ask it here.
Q: I feel pigeon holed in my current industry (biotech/medical devices) in which there are very few opportunities to work from home or flex time. I left my job in clinical sales for medical devices 9 months ago to stay home with my new baby. What is the best way to change industry and/or look for new job using skill sets from previous job? ~ Ashley
A: Dear Ashley:
First of all, congratulations on opening up to finding new work that feels more aligned. It is not easy to leave your comfort zone, but switching industries is totally possible… you just need to know how to tell a clear and authentic story of what you feel ready for in your next career.
Here are the areas you need to think about that will make up your new story.
Step One: Identify the times you felt in the zone with your old job.
I know it may seem challenging at times to think about what you loved in an industry you feel ready to leave, but this is essential! Think back over the years you were in clinical sales. Where did you feel the most natural? Where did you make the most impact? If I were to interview some of your past customers, what would they say about their experience working with you? Was it connecting with people? Building trust? Doing the research? Making deals? Believe it or not, what you did most naturally in your last job is your highest currency and it is your purpose work.
Think back over the last job and ask yourself what you were missing. Where did you feel underutilized, or underwhelmed? What aspects of the culture did you not connect with? Where do you think that your potential was not being used? Make a list.
Step Three: Think about what kind of company/culture you want.
Now brainstorm the ideal company — is it big, medium or small? What kind of leadership are you craving? How many days a week do you want to work? What kind of salary do you want to make? These are the details that will help clarify the kinds of organizations that would be the right fit.
Step Four: Start crafting your story.
Now that you know what you loved about your old role and why you are ready for a change, you can start crafting your new story to use in networking, resumes and cover letters. It is all about painting a clear, authentic picture of what you are ready for — even if you do not know the exact industry or job you want, you can still let people know what kind of skills you possess and how they can translate to other industries. This is a story that you tell EVERYONE! Friends, family and in networking meetings. The more people that know your vision, the better.
Here are two examples of client elevator pitches that landed them jobs in new industries:
“I am passionate about helping companies accelerate growth and build new strategic capabilities. My experiences are broad, encompassing right brain creativity and left brain analytics, individual thought leadership and big team building, functions that both grow a company and sustain it.
I thrive in environments where substance and integrity matter, and everyone is focused on achieving the goal. I aim to build businesses that have a positive impact on the world, in health care, energy, tech, and other industries with clearly defined visions for good.
I absolutely love to get my hands dirty in business and believe that credibility comes from knowing the customers and the products and the people. My proudest moments are when folks I’ve hired or mentored surpass all expectations and when the teams I am part of play their hearts out.”
“Currently I am in medical sales and there are many things that I love about my work… Connecting with people, being a leader, making a difference in my client’s lives and making a nice living.
HOWEVER, in the last year the leadership has changed and it is no longer an inspiring place to work. I am ready and actively looking for a small to medium sized company that will allow me to……See the big picture, generate new ideas and new markets for a product I feel inspired by. I want to be closer to the impact I can make and I want to take my leadership to the next level. I love the areas of health and fashion. Do you know any companies I should check out or are there any people doing this kind of work that I could be connected to?”
Good luck and keep us posted! ~ Johanna