When it comes to choosing an industry to work in, there are many variables.
Some people want to work in an industry that excites them. Others are focused on potential compensation, advancement opportunities, or job stability.
Job seekers interested in high compensation will want to consider industries with reputations for paying well (see https://www.careerinfonet.org/industry/ind_highest_paying.aspx?nodeid=49). However, if you’re currently earning a high salary and are not able to take a (short-term) pay cut, you might have to stay in your current industry or a related industry.
If you’re searching for job stability, you’ll probably want to look for an industry that has less competition, is less sensitive to the economy, and won’t be impacted by changing technology or demographics.
When making a job or career change, it might be wise to choose several industries to target so you can see where you get interviews, which ones feel exciting, and who makes job offers – so you can then make the best career decision for you.
To help you choose one or more industries to target, this article includes:
- Questions to ask yourself
- Important factors to consider when choosing an industry
- Recommended resources for information
Note: Be sure to see the training video below that shows a very easy and quick way to see if the job titles that appeal to you are in the industries that you want to target
Questions to consider when choosing an industry:
- What passions, hobbies, interests, and volunteer experience do you have and what industries do they relate to?
- What do you read about… and what industries does that relate to?
- Do you have well-placed friends in certain industries?
- Are there industries that would highly value your skills, interests and background?
- What industries does your current industry serve?
Factors to consider when you choose an industry:
- The more money you want to earn, the more likely you’ll have to stay in (or near) your current industry.
- What is the industry’s reputation for work culture and quality of life? (But keep in mind there are great employers in industries with bad reputations, just as there are terrible employers in appealing industries)
- Is the industry’s market size growing or shrinking?
- Are there few or many competitors in the industry… and what is the ease of entry for new competitors to enter the industry / market?
- Are companies in an industry competing on product/service quality and other ‘non-price’ value to the customer… or are there price wars and ‘cut-throat pricing’?
- How does the current economy and economic cycles impact industry?
- Will demographic trends (i.e. age, income levels, population growth) be favorable or unfavorable
- How will technology impact the industry?
To get answers to these questions, I recommend using these resources:
- Internet searches
- Industry publications and articles, Forbes, The Economist, Fortune, Business Week
- Use this directory of industry portals (I’m providing it as a PDF file since the website no longer exists): Industry Portal Directory
- Informational interviews (see my book on Amazon titled “Informational Interview Handbook”
Watch this short training video to learn a very easy and quick way to see if the job titles that appeal to you are in the industries that you want to target: