If you have been working in your job for more than a few years and feel it may be time to contemplate a career change, take some time to ponder and reflect on your passions, the type of work you would find personally fulfilling and how you can utilize dormant skills or upgrade existing ones to bring your dream to reality. Work through the following steps when considering how best to move forward with your decision.
1. Envision a Bold New Future.
We all have career aspirations. If you know how to manage your career, your dream job may be just around the corner. Try to figure out what you enjoy and do not enjoy doing — note your strengths, weaknesses and where you would be happy. If you do not have a clear objective, try vision boarding or seek the help of a qualified career coach. They will help you uncover your attributes and partner with you on a defined approach to meeting your next challenge.
2. Explore Your Options.
Ask yourself what industries or sectors would be best suited to your skill set, personality and values. Then advance to a due diligence stage and ask people who are already working in that industry role for their perspective. Generally, people are willing to share their experience. Finally, make a dream job list, setting defined targets and job titles and potential employers. Opportunities beckon for you all the time.
3. Update Your Resume and Social Media Accounts.
The foundation in a job search is a resume. It is considered the most important sales and marketing tool you will have to portray your accomplishments, skills and character. Be aware that resumes are rarely read by human beings today. We are in a technical age so complying with the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) is vital. Be bold. Be confident. Be articulate. Craft a strong message showing exactly who you are personally and professionally, backed by accomplishment driven stories utilizing facts and figures, to entice the ATS and the reader to call you for an interview.
Combine your ATS compatible resume with a significant social media presence, preferably utilizing Facebook, Twitter and without doubt, LinkedIn. Always have a powerful, resonating and performance driven LinkedIn profile that tells a compelling story about you. This will contribute to calls from decision makers wanting to know more about your talent and personality. Don’t duplicate the content from your resume on your LinkedIn profile but realign the stories to advance to a conversation stage. Be sure to fill this pageless profile to the maximum including a professional photograph, customized LinkedIn URL, enticing introduction, full keyword summary, recommendations and multiple success stories.
4. Network, Network, Network.
Nothing beats in-person networking. Yes, it can be an onerous task to some, and in particular for introverts, however, brace yourself and get out to the multiple events that await you. While it is never too late to start networking, you should get on the bandwagon early and never stop moving along. Networking is for all, whether you are in career transition or gainfully employed. Never omit this important aspect in building your reputation and brand. It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, the bulk of lead generation to secure interviews is through networking. The statistics are enlightening: 79% of job leads in Canada are generated through networking; 69% in the US and similarly around the rest of the western world. Don’t ignore networking when considering a career change.
5. Craft an Exciting Cover Letter.
A cover letter is still a crucial component when applying to a job. Written in the personal pronoun, it matches your qualifications to the job specifications. Use your most persuasive vocabulary in this single page document to create excitement and show your commitment to work. Share some examples of how your knowledge of the job and the potential employer will benefit the company. Use some of the keywords from the job notice in the cover letter. Do not ignore other types of cover letters. In addition to the job posting, cover letters are used for introductions to executive recruiters, generating conversation as a result of a network lead, direct mail to someone who might be your future boss or your boss’ boss, and finally a pain cover letter, where through your network and due diligence you have uncovered some business issue that you believe you can resolve.
6. Seek Out Industry Peers.
Each sector and industry organize national and regional conferences. What better way to gain an understanding and knowledge of a particular industry or role, especially when you are changing careers, than to attend a convention or trade show. These events provide you with the opportunity to meet with multiple persons to solicit feedback on your LinkedIn profile, resume, cover letter, poise and deportment. You may even meet someone who might be influential in hiring you. Also, use trade magazines and papers, published articles or an online search engine like Google to seek out industry peers.
Remember, it is acceptable to change careers. You can do it. But you need the tools and tricks, and sometimes the education and designations, to fulfill those aspirations. If you are anxious to advance your career, I would be thrilled to provide you with a joint LinkedIn audit and free resume critique.