‘Changing careers’ is like a blinking red light on a resume, isn’t it? You want to know the why, how, what, when of the employee and ten-to-one odds, you may still not hire him or her. Here are four reasons you should increase the odds and go for the switcher:
1. They bring unrelated experience which could be priceless
Although the first thing you look for is related experience, sometimes the opposite could be useful. For example, if you’ve hired a former marketing executive in copywriting, there’s no reason he can’t train the new marketing interns when your marketing guys are busy with client servicing or even take up the slack occasionally when you’re understaffed in marketing.
2. Access to multiple industry networks
Businesses sell via networks, whether its online or offline. Your I’ve-just-switched-industries guy is worth his weight in gold if he’s part of a network in an industry that you’ve been targeting but haven’t managed to penetrate. Networks are notoriously closed sometimes, especially in the traditional professions – doctor, lawyer, accountant. For example, if a lawyer quits to join the publishing industry, you’re going to tap his contacts to sell legal textbooks at law firms and law schools.
3. Key Skill sets are often portable
Communication skills, people management, leadership ability are just some examples of skill sets that are portable across jobs and industries. Even technical skills could be directly applicable such as a teacher who goes into corporate training. The underlying vocation required is exactly the same, patient instruction and problem solving. Of course, there is a certain learning curve but there’s no reason the switch is not viable.
4. They haven’t been fired, it’s a personal call
This may be the last one, but its probably the most crucial. In this economic climate, quitting for something you believe in, shows courage and decision making capability, while everyone is telling you otherwise. The individual has been constantly advised not to leave the established job/industry he’s in by his colleagues, his wife, his children, his buddies. He’s probably got a mortgage to worry about and he’s still up for the challenge. The greater the responsibilities, the greater his stake in being successful when you hire him. Take a chance on him, its likely to pay off.
Martha Stewart was once a stockbroker and a pretty successful one by 1970s standards, but if she hadn’t switched jobs, lifestyles in the USA would be very different today. David Letterman got his start as a local weatherman, better known for his bizarre on-air antics than his weather forecasts. So hire the switcher, he might be just what you’re looking for.