EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

More often than not, members of our networking group prefer to change industries when they change jobs.

I have to agree that changing industries isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills we have learned to a totally new situation is an attractive concept.

The truth unfortunately is often a little harsher. Our maximum value to any new employer is our knowledge and skills, and often times our perceived value is higher if we aren’t making any significant change.

As counter intuitive as it may sound, the best approach to changing industries is talking to folks from your industry, especially those who are no longer there. The question to be answered is how did they make good their escape? What was it they identified about their new industry, or perhaps about their skill set that enabled them to make the switch?

Being primarily loyal corporate types we tend to identify with the firms at which we have worked. We absorb the jargon and the issues as part of whom and what we are. In a sense we have trouble separating and/or generalizing our experience and sort of shoot ourselves in the foot when discussing what we did every day with folks not from our industry.

Start with your resume. Although it is important that you have a short sentence about the firms at which you have worked, in the accomplishments section, have you been careful to eliminate jargon related words and phrases?

A good test is to have someone who is not a financial person review your resume and circle words they don’t recognize as good understandable English. Sometimes even your fellow financial types won’t recognize a few of your references.

Once you have your opus cleaned up, you are ready to speak to those from the “outside.”

Sign into our website and using our Member Directory Search feature, look up the names of all the firms in your industry. Each time you get a hit, look at the names of the OTHER firms at which your many fellow members have worked. What you are looking for are folks who worked in your industry one or two jobs ago. See where they landed, and if you see a few companies that intrigue you, send them a copy of your resume and follow it up with a phone call.

Everyone loves to tell a good story about how they managed to reinvent themselves. If you let your new friend know what you are trying to accomplish, how can they not want to help?

You will find that using this approach is a lot easier and a lot more productive then reinventing the wheel. (And, a lot less likely to give you an Excedrin headache.)

Regards, Matt

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