How Do I Pick an Industry?

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When starting or changing your career, you have an amazing array of options from which to choose. The world has many industries in need of workers, and you might find a niche for yourself in one or more fields. Before you begin looking for work, you need to narrow down your options. To help select a compatible industry, consider the following questions:

How broadly have you browsed?

At the beginning of your search, you should gather as much information as possible. You might want to start by looking through the North American Industry Classification System’s list of industries to get an idea of which industries might interest you. After you’ve identified some targets, you can start to delve deeper.

Do you have skills that can be used in the industry?

To be successful in any industry, you need to be able to contribute to it. Make a list of your skills, and as you research your potential industries more deeply, see if your skill list matches up especially well with one of them. If you find no matches, consider how you might be able to learn the skills you’d need.

How healthy is the industry?

If you jump into a dying industry, you may find yourself out of a job before long and having to choose a new industry again, so make sure you’re entering a field with good prospects. Look for a growing market that’s not too crowded by competition. Companies that are consistently profitable and expanding into new markets are also a good sign.

Can your network help?

In most industries, having personal connections makes it vastly easier to gain a foothold. As you sort through your target list, make special note of anyone you know who might be able to help you get started in a given industry.

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