1. Network. All day, every day.
We’ve all heard the expression, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Relationships matter, especially when you’re job searching. Many, if not most, job openings are not published on traditional job sites.
Employers tend to rely on their networks to fill positions before advertising them to the general public. When you’re looking to transition into a new industry, it’s a good idea to put on your networking shoes and take them for a spin. Having face to face contact with players in your chosen industry will give you a chance to tell your story, as well as build relationships with the people who are in the best position to help you when a job becomes available. Joining a professional organization or a LeanIn Circle is a great way to meet people in your new industry. You can also connect with a headhunter to help you out. (How do you find a headhunter to find a job? Try asking colleagues, looking on LinkedIn, and searching on industry-specific forums to start.)
2. Go on informational interviews.
When you’re starting out in a new field, it can take some time before you land an interview. In the meantime, reach out to people for informational interviews. These informal interviews are a great way to meet people, learn about your new industry and get helpful advice about how to approach your search and transition.
Reach out to people in your network or ask people you know to make introductions for you. Use LinkedIn to find people in your chosen industry with whom you might have a shared connection or shared background (e.g., someone who went to your college). If you’re a recent graduate, you can utilize your career services department to put you in touch with alumni and others who would be willing to speak with you. Make the most of your interview by being prepared with an agenda for the meeting and asking thoughtful questions. You never know when you're speaking with a potential employer!