Next move: How do I shed my travel background?

Agencies pigeonhole me. They don't see my transferable skills. How do I get into other sectors?

The question

For the last eight years I have been a technical specialist for a travel technology company. Though I don't have any project manager certification, I have run projects worth up to £20m.

Since being made redundant in March 2005, I have been finding it very difficult to find a position away from the travel sector.

Agencies pigeonhole me. They don't see my transferable skills. How do I get into other sectors?


The solution: Emphasise your generic techie skills

There are many industry sectors that create their own niche market and travel is one such sector. It's not necessarily the fault of the recruitment consultants who phone you with only travel sector positions, that you're being pigeonholed, as the travel companies themselves demand candidates that have such industry experience. So any consultant trawling their database searching for CVs will automatically phone you based upon your work history.

The problem you face is that you seem to have been working within a company that only delivers travel technology solutions, so you will be perceived, rightly or wrongly, as someone who can only deliver travel technology solutions.

You should emphasise your generic technical skills on your CV more and play down the bespoke travel technology. Working with a consultant to do this will help, so talk to more recruitment consultants proactively and reiterate your desire to change industry. Good consultants will spend the time with you to focus your CV.

It seems to me that your skills should be transferable at the moment but, if you can, solidify your experience by enrolling to do a Prince 2 course. This is almost always asked for in project management or when working for a consulting firm.

Solution by Robert Nunn, senior account manager, Plan-Net Services

The panel: Plan-Net Services, Hudson, Reed Technology, Zarak Technology, No Limits Coaching, The Training Camp

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