Have You Fallen into a Professional Trap?

Looking for a new job can be a tricky task.  There are lots of different traps and pitfalls you can fall into as a candidate.  Some of them are more common than others.  There’s one particular trap that I see many fall into when it comes to their careers.  You’ve probably fallen into this trap without even knowing it.  So what is this trap I talk about?

focusing your job search in one particular industry

It’s very possible that this approach is limiting you from reaching your full potential.  I guess you might be wondering why, so let me share my thoughts.

Getting On the Ladder

When you first started out in your career, your focus was pretty much solely on getting a job, any job, possibly based on a qualification you had.  You probably weren’t very fussy, just glad someone took a chance on you and pay you.

Your first full-time job was most likely the first time you jumped industries. Maybe  you worked part-time in retail or hospitality through your late teens/early twenties, and took the opportunity to gain different skills and experience that supported you as you moved into a “real” career.

Those first few years of your career was all about building experience, knowledge, and income.  You maybe even tried out a few different jobs doing different things in different industries until you found “your thing”.  If you were lucky, you found “your thing” within those first few years.  Or maybe you are still searching.  Regardless, those first few years of your career gave you oodles of experience that you can now use to your advantage.

Getting Trapped

Some of us fall into a career within a few years of starting work.  That can often be by coincidence rather than by design.  You get a job and you find you do well.  Then a promotion comes, or you look to move to a similar job at a different company, usually within the same industry.  You decide that your industry knowledge is as important, if not more important, than your skills.

So you get yourself trapped.  It becomes variations on the same theme.  You cycle around a handful of companies who do the same thing in a slightly different way.  While you may reach your potential this way, you could be limiting yourself by not looking further afield.

You see, many jobs rely on a handful of core key skills, such as the ability to communicate, the capability to learn, and the desire to do your best.  Knowledge can be acquired.  Experience can be gained.

Now I recognise that for some professions, knowledge is required to keep growing within that profession.  However, I’ve met plenty of people over the years who are now happily working in roles that have nothing to do with the qualifications or functional experience they have.

Breaking Free

So if you are interested in broadening your horizons beyond your current industry, here are three things you can do:

  • Network outside your current industry – find events you can attend to get to know people who work in a different industry to you. Ask them what skills they believe are important to be successful in what they do.  Ask what has made them successful in their career.  Ask more about their industry.
  • Ask people about their careers – get into the habit of asking people to share their career journey with you. Notice who has and who hasn’t taken an opportunity to switch industries or job focus.  Ask them how they did it.  Ask them what advice they would have for you.  Ask them how they identified an opportunity to move into a new field.
  • Re-write your CV to focus more on your transferable skills, knowledge & experience. By highlighting your cross-functional capabilities, you can forge a whole new path for yourself within your career.

If you are not sure where to start, want some help to see yourself in a different light, or you feel like you haven’t found your “career” yet, then it might be time to work with me.  If this sounds like you, then I can help you through my 1:1 “Grow Your Career” programme.  If you want to find out more about how we can work together you can go ahead and request a free 30 minute call with me here where we can chat, I’ll give you some career advice and we’ll see if we’re a good fit for working together.