Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Trading Places - How to switch industries successfully

Executive Summary, Changing Industries:

Executive Summary, Changing Industries:
·       Leverage.
·       Expertise.
·       Acronyms
·       Perspiration.

Your Rant: I’ve hit a brick wall in my profession. How can I break into health care or education?
911 Repair,
When most people come up empty looking for jobs in their own profession they often think the grass is always greener in another profession or industry. It’s natural to think this way. Which reminds me of the world’s greatest athlete, Michael Jordan. A remarkable basketball player, arguably the best there ever was. But don’t forget how he didn’t pull his weight in baseball, where he hit only .202 (14 pounds less than his playing weight).
If such a great athlete as Michael Jordan can struggle going from one sport to another, all of us should think through our odds of being successful in a dramatic career shift. I’m not saying that you can’t make the leap to a new industry or gig, just that you should go into it with your eyes open. To help you sort out your options, I’ve listed four considerations below which spell out the word “LEAP.” For more, check out “Brazen Careerist” by Penelope Trunk (Warner, 2007).

Leverage. Studies always show it’s not what you know, but who you know, that provides the most leverage in a job search. For you to leap into a new career, it really helps to start with key contacts or relationships in the industry already in place. Look at the people you know. Then try to meet the people they know. Network like crazy and you won’t just be sending out resumes, the people who’ll be hiring will already be part of your network.

Expertise. Career counselors are fond of the phrase, “transferable skills.” These are talents that easily translate into a new profession. For example, the same design skills that help a graphic designer could lead to a successful career in department store display work. It’s no different if your skills are in sales, engineering or mediation. There are always new places where your skills are needed. So look at your skills broadly and ask, where else would they provide value?

Acronyms. It’s often feels like professions establish their own weird language to make it hard for outsiders. And I’m not just talking about lawyers, all professions do it. Take the time to talk to people in the field to learn the lingo. Once you do, you’ll be surprised at how people will treat you like an insider when you start to speak like one.            

Perspiration. For you to bump ahead in line of all of the people experiences in a profession, you’re going to have to work that much harder than they do. So be prepared to perspire. Talk to people who work in the new industry. Talk to vendors. Talk to customers. Visit web sites for the industry you’re interested in. Read trade publications. In short, immerse yourself in the profession.
M.J. can leap out of the gym, but he was never able to survive the leap to baseball. Hopefully these tips can help your career leaps more successful.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via


Thought of the Week

"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them."

–George Bernard Shaw

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