AIU Blog

The AIU blog shares ideas, information and tips aimed at helping you get ahead personally and professionally, with topics ranging from online learning success to career development.


How to Interview for an Industry That's New to You

Changing your career and breaking into a new industry can be exciting but nerve-wracking. Hiring managers may view candidates that are transitioning into a new career as a risky hire due to the lack of hands-on experience. Therefore, the interview is crucial; in order to be successful in transitioning into a new career field you will need to show the interviewer that you are flexible and confident and that your background and skills make you the best candidate for the position.

Image: AIU Quick Tips on How to Interview in a New IndustryDetermine and Highlight Your Transferable Skills

During an interview, it’s very important to discuss your transferable skills and show the interviewer how you plan to take your background and be successful in the new industry. For example, if your background is in retail and you are looking to obtain a career in an office setting, discuss your customer service skills, describing how you listened to customers and found solutions for them to ensure they left happy resulting in repeat business.

For example, you could discuss a time when you went above and beyond for customers, making sure to give specific examples such as “There was one time when a customer was upset, I then [share how you handled the situation.] Afterwards, the customer thanked me.” Be sure to have a beginning, middle and end to each example that you share. When discussing why and how your interaction began, you want to mention your solution and the result. Then, add how you feel confident in being successful and ensuring repeat business due to the superb customer service skills you possess. Giving specific examples shows the interviewer how you have been successful and gives them a chance to imagine you being successful within the company.

Sign on for Volunteer Work

Volunteering in the field that you are interested in is a great way to get hands-on experience. One of the benefits of volunteer experience is that it shows the interviewer how serious you are about transitioning into a new career. In addition to providing you with talking points for interviews, this is also a great opportunity for you to network and to add additional experience to your resume.

Don't Forget Your Education

Experience in the field isn't the only way to gain knowledge about an industry. Make sure to draw on your education in the interview. You do not just want to discuss the classes that you took in your degree program; highlight the knowledge that you gained and how it will assist you in your success within the position. Go into detail: talk about specific projects, papers and research that you did to help illustrate your knowledge of the industry and your desire to be part of the company. You can also use what you know to help determine what questions you should ask during the interview - this can be an opportunity to demonstrate how you can be a great fit for the company and the role.


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