The Industry Experience Question for Job Seekers

We asked some recruiters how a job seeker should handle this scenario: the job requirement states you must have X years experience in X industry. If they come from different industry how can candidate overcome that?

"They need an inside connection. Recruiter will always screen for the basics unless hiring manager or another insider says “can you give a closer look at this guy…Also, depends who feels strongly about that requirement. Did the hiring manager ask for it? That might make it non-negotiable.”

Susan Strayer LaMotte

Or does the candidate want to work for a company who doesn’t understand the notion of “transferable skills” & the fact that industry experience + years of experience not equal the best candidate, most of the time.

Jeff Waldman

Without an employee referring, systems will not allow applications that don’t have ALL musts to be considered (assuming sufficient candidates who do). Therefore its a waste of time to apply with a 1.2% chance. With an average of 85 applications for a job, only three people with a referral will be among the 85. 40-45 of the 82 w/o a referral will have ALL the musts. 100% of the 3 referrals will be ‘considered’ versus only 1 in 3 of those w/o a referral who have ALL the musts. 2 of the 3 referrals will be Finalists versus 3 of the 15 w/o considered. The person with a referral will be chosen 30-40% of the time. Its about the numbers baby and while no job is ‘average’ playing these numbers is the only way to go.

Gerry Crispin

The above are all valid arguments based in reality. In most cases it will depend on the industry you are trying to get into. Some may be more willing to take a chance on you. 

You can certainly help yourself by playing up your transferrable skills and coming up with good arguments to any objections you may face. 

If you have ever succeeded in changing industries with little to no experience leave us a comment and tell us how.