Networking for Career Changers and “Renaissance Personalities”

Here is part 2 in my networking series; a guest blog by my friend and self-proclaimed “reluctant networker” Katherine Moody.

Katherine is the founder of www.HRjobsearchsecrets.com and has a true renaissance career. She pulled this off with networking strategies she developed herself that are truly doable. In this article, she is sharing her tips that will help any career changer – and especially renaissance personalities, landing leads in a new industry or field.

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Renaissance job search survival tip: Leap the chasm to a new industry through networking.

This strategy can be extremely useful when you would like to change industries. It will help you in your job search networking and, as a bonus, when you interview. I developed this technique because throughout my career, after about 18 months in a position, I wanted a new one! Even better if it could be in an entirely new industry or function.

Before you start networking your way into a new industry, you must be able to clearly explain why you are an asset to that new industry. You can’t assume that the person you’re talking to will automatically be able to see why your experience in industry A will be an asset to them in industry B. Don’t leave this quantum leap in thinking to your interviewer or person you’re networking with. They will never make it across that chasm.

Let’s assume your career has been in Industry A. Now you want to work in Industry B. Complete the following statements:

* My experience in industry A is an advantage to a hiring manager in industry B in the following ways:

* Here’s what I learned by being in industry A that people who haven’t been in industry A would not know:

* Here are the unique results I will be able to get for a company in Industry B because of my experience in Industry A:

The ultimate question to answer, even if they don’t ask, is “what is it about you and your experience that makes you a better candidate than the candidate who does have industry experience?”

Practice your answers to these questions. Be able to weave them easily and briefly into your career brand statement as well as the requests you make of those you are networking with.

Many candidates who want to change industries rely on that old standard: “Well, my skills are transferable.”  Most recruiters and hiring managers I’ve worked with typically ignore that statement.

If you answer the questions above, even if they don’t specifically ask, you’ll always beat out those who have nothing but “transferable” to talk about.

Recruiter TIP: Often the person interviewing you will need a way to convince their boss that you’re right for the position. Their boss will probably have the same concern about your lack of industry experience. With the answers to these questions, you have given the interviewer all the reasons why this is not an issue. Give them the words and they may give you the job!

It works the same way when you’re networking. When you can make a compelling case of how you are an undiscovered treasure for Industry B, people will be eager to introduce you to their contacts in that industry. We all want to get credit for finding a treasure!

Here’s how it worked for me: All the other candidates had 10+ years of experience. Me? Six months. Even though the hiring Partner didn’t ask, I explained how my marketing experience in a software company made me the best choice to be the new Director of Recruiting at Deloitte & Touche. Got that job!

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For a quick, fun technique to develop your memorable brand statement, please visit Katherine’s site for her free special report: www.hrjobsearchsecrets.com. Then you can weave your answers above into your career brand and really stand out!



6 Comments »

  1. Great advice! I actually consult with many candidates who fit the description of a TRUE RENAISSANCE PERSONALITY. These are typically high band width, scary bright people who can do so many things well, they don’t know how to channel their energies on just focusing on one thing and shine brilliantly! Great work on identifying this and putting a name to it! Now someone who fits this description has a resource to turn to that understands them.

    Comment by Lorena's List — February 4, 2010 @ 4:59 pm

  2. Great information. I will keep this post to share with career changers I work with as a blueprint to their strategies.
    One thing I stress to individuals seeking new careers is that networking can be easier for reluctant networkers. Since you will seek information and opinions from your contacts rather than directly asking about job openings, people will speak more freely with you. By asking an individual to assess how your skills relate to his or her field, you place him or her in expert status, which people enjoy.

    Tom Dezell
    Author
    Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker

    Comment by tomdezell — February 6, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  3. Thanks for your comment Lorena! You’re right – deciding what to do first/next/again/never again is one of the bigger challenges for renaissance people. Some focus on several things simultaneously while others do many different things consecutively.

    It can get really hairy when it’s time to declare a major or start a career. Unfortunately, hardly any career counselors and coaches know about this specific “renaissance” trait and will therefore not be able to understand and guide these people in a way that makes sense for them and actually works *with* their personality and multitude of talents and passions.

    It’s my mission to change that! : )

    Comment by careerbranches — February 6, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  4. Thanks Tom, and I agree; asking for information is key. In fact, I advise all my clients to do this, whether they’re changing careers or not. It’s so much more effective and pleasant. I also addressed this in last week’s post. Asking for a job instead of information or leads is the #1 mistake job seekers make, in my opinion.

    You bring up another great point: people like feeling like an expert. : )

    Thanks again for commenting – I’m glad you found it valuable and I’ll pass your comment to Katherine Moody as well!

    Comment by careerbranches — February 6, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

  5. It is nice to be recognized and know that I’m not alone. I have many interests and talents and I’m so underutilized. Thanks for the advice.

    Comment by Jackie Ansel — February 7, 2010 @ 10:35 pm

  6. Thanks for your comment, Jackie! Good to hear this resonated with you. Feel free to also download my report on my web site (www.CareerBranches.com) about renaissance personalities and the most common mistakes I see them make.

    Comment by careerbranches — February 8, 2010 @ 5:33 am

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