Pivoting industries or roles
Pivoting industries isn’t a sign of inconsistency but an indication of adaptability, a trait highly valued in today’s dynamic market. It requires hard work but offers great rewards. Being flexible and open to taking risks can help increase the chances of success in a new industry or role. Make this transition smoother by following these easy steps.
- Continuous learning. Consider your pivot an expedition and don’t rush. Take the time to meticulously research and prepare for your new industry/role. You should deeply understand its trends, key players, and expectations. If possible, offer to shadow a professional in the field. Read, attend webinars, network, and soak in as much information as you can.
- The power of transferable skills. Your previous experience is not voided by a pivot. On the contrary, it equips you with unique perspectives and skills. Draw parallels between the skills you currently possess and those required in your desired role or industry. Present them strategically in your resume.
- Market yourself. Update your LinkedIn profile, CV, and cover letter to reflect your new direction. Showcase not only your transferable skills, but your eagerness to learn.
Finally, have a contingency plan. Pivoting is risky, and it might not always go as expected. A back-up plan provides security and reduces anxiety.
When our clients ask the executives must have experience in their own sector, we, as Executive Search Consultants, always ask if they’d consider someone from an ‘adjacent’ sector i.e. one that has a similar theme but is still slightly different.
The arguments for our case are:
- Executives who were exposed to multiple industries and type of roles had expanding scopes which will allow them to recognize changes faster and would avoid getting stuck in already known models which might not be the best fit for the actual context. Those who moved between industries and roles are prone to identify patterns, trends faster and understand disruptions and their consequences and develop suitable adjustments.
- Especially for Board and Executive roles it might not be needed the expertise in the sector but rather an ability to recombine knowledge and adapt faster to changing environments. For this type of roles the ability to drive either fast growth, a turnaround or repositioning of the business, addressing challenges and spot opportunities are more important than pure expertise in the industry. As we say, they see faster the tree from the forest.
- And the last, but not the least argument, is the orientation of executives with diverse backgrounds in driving innovation, being, in most cases, much more adaptable.
After presenting our case most clients always say, ‘sure’ and those non-same sector hires often work out to be a roaring success.
Here’s a worked example of the adjacent sectors open to someone with 25 years in retail banking. What could be the transferable experience? Highly regulated industry, financial products, volume transactions, multi-channel, complex pricing modelling just to name a few. Adjacent sector to pivot to? Insurance, wealth management, financial products, brokers, treasury, payments, telco, pharma, energy sector.
Remember, pivoting is not about discarding your past, but leveraging it to create a prosperous future. It’s a journey of self-discovery, resilience, and growth.