Few people are happy to be stuck in the same position for their entire careers. This isn’t just a matter of having lofty ambitions. Progression is a route to supporting the lifestyle you want. You might feel you have ideas that could be innovative in your industry. Whatever your reason for pursuing better career opportunities, you need to present yourself as a good investment.
There are various ways you can approach this, but one of the most effective is by leaning into safety skills. It doesn't matter what area of industrial operations you want to work in. A background in safety can be instrumental in pushing you above the competition.
Let’s go through a few of the things to bear in mind when leveraging your safety skills.
Where are the opportunities?
Your first step is to understand where the potential opportunities for leveraging your safety skills lie. This primarily helps you to better direct your efforts in a relevant way.
Some areas for further research can include:
Perhaps the most obvious place to start is specialist safety careers. Many of these revolve around maintaining Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations. There is a good job growth outlook particularly for the roles of occupational health and safety technician or specialist. Both positions involve analyzing and testing workplace conditions, with the latter role integral to designing programs to make improvements. The technician position generally doesn’t require specific qualifications. This means you can usually gain entry by leveraging your on-the-job safety experience.
Safety is increasingly becoming a part of industrial management positions. Your responsibilities aren’t limited to maintaining efficient operations. You need to be able to achieve a productive environment that also achieves the highest possible safety standards. Your safety skills can be particularly valuable to businesses looking for warehouse, industry, or plant managers. Part of your focus is being able to demonstrate you know how to integrate safety standards while keeping the business profitable.
Human resources (HR) positions can be a good direction for your safety knowledge. This isn’t just a position in which you’re hiring and firing people. Industrial businesses today are placing more focus on creating a holistic culture of safety throughout the company. As such, HR professionals have a responsibility to develop safety training programs. They'll also analyze whether these are effective. Your safety skills can be instrumental in making you a part of a company’s efforts to build a positive environment. You can keep workers and the public safe while also helping the company achieve a successful trajectory.
Honing your application
Once you’ve chosen your career goals and directions, it’s time to start the application process. Don’t be put off from doing this if you don’t have the relevant certifications in place at the moment. Make it clear in any personal statements sections that you are dedicated to being a positive influencer in safety. Often, businesses are keen to engage with candidates they can see are open to development.
Your resume is the most important part of the initial application. Many companies today are using application tracking systems (ATS) in their recruitment, but these are no longer just keyword-pulling programs. As such, you must approach writing your resume as a skills and experience showcase. Be sure to give a good balance of your technical skills and your so-called soft skills. The latter are those which suggest leadership, communication, and teamwork. It’s important not just to list your skills, particularly those related to safety. Give context to your abilities. Talk about how you’ve used your knowledge of safety procedures to make the workplace more positive. Outline achievements showing you’ve overcome certain safety challenges.
Importantly, don’t just take a scattershot approach to your applications. You shouldn’t be issuing exactly the same resume for every position. Research the company you’re applying for and the position they’re offering. Look into their ethos or values — especially in respect of their safety commitments. Tailor your personal statements on your resume and applications to reflect these values and imperatives.
Making your pitch
The interview process is not just one of the final gateways to a new safety job. You need to think about it as one of your best opportunities to express why your safety skills and your attitude help to make you the best possible candidate. In essence, you are pitching your value in the hope they’ll invest in you.
Remember, most initial interviews today are being conducted remotely. This can be an uncomfortable experience for a lot of people, particularly if you haven’t had much experience communicating professionally in this way. Your ability to nail a remote job interview can be helped by taking some careful and organized preparatory steps. These include setting up a clear and uncluttered space around you — consider this an expression of your approach to a safe workspace. Remember to dress professionally; this can certainly help your confidence, too. Wherever possible, do some practice runs with a colleague in the industry. They may be able to throw up some safety-related scenarios or ideas you hadn’t considered.
One of your primary points of preparation here is your contribution to the interview. Asking the right questions can be important. Use this as a chance to start discussions demonstrating a little more of your safety knowledge. Ask about how the business is planning to approach the security of new technology coming down the pipeline. Start a conversation about their safety-related business values. This can cement you in the minds of the interviewers and also demonstrates soft skills in communication that businesses are looking for in their environment, health, and safety professionals.
Your safety skills and experiences can be instrumental in opening up new career opportunities. Take the time to explore the wide variety of roles safety abilities can contribute to. Take an approach to your resume and interviews leaning into not just your skills but their relevance to the individual business you’re engaging with. With some careful consideration, you can make a positive start in a rewarding new path.