Our first piece of advice is to take one step back. Take a piece of paper and consider your current job and how it impacts your job satisfaction. Write down recurring themes, notable events and how they made you feel. From writing out what went wrong, you will get a better picture of what you really want. After that, consider your personal and professional inventory – this will look like a list of values, skills and interests.
This is one of the most important steps if you don’t have an idea of what you want yet. By brainstorming industries and jobs, you have higher chances of finding a good fit for your skills. If you are struggling, you can ask for help. There are a lot of services that provide career counselling, and you can even ask people around for a professional and personal opinion. By using external resources, you can think about potential careers and make a shortlist of the ones you find the most fitting.
When your career shift has been narrowed down to a couple of potential job types combined with your inventory, you can do a more extensive and specific research until you’ve reached your top options.
By this point, you already know what you want or have a couple of options. Now you need to think about how to get it. Make a list of all the requirements of job descriptions from positions similar to the one you want – this could include education, skill development, certification, networking or industry practice. From this list make an action plan of the things you can work on – these can be small goals you can work on for a period of time, but we do recommend setting deadlines, so you stay on track. For example, if you want to get into marketing a daily goal can be read five pages of a marketing book or sign up for a course about marketing.
There’s a chance – depending on what you are looking for – that you might need further education or certification beyond your current work experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean a college course, you can check our article on online education here. If you are employed, you can try to find opportunities at your current job to gain the skills you need to make your career change or to have access to courses provided by your employer that will help you close your skills gap.
Contacts are valuable assets. We recommend you start to build a network of professionals while still employed – if that is not the case, don’t worry. Try attend work functions and events so you will meet more people as well as collect email addresses and business cards. These contacts may be your foot in the door in your ideal career so always connect with everyone and get your name out there.
Connect with People in Your Target Field
When changing careers, your strongest option is to focus on people. Your CV will most likely be based on other jobs and skills, so it is less useful as a marketing tool. So, building a good strong network is critical. When you know what industry or the type of role you want, connect with people in that targeted field to learn about opportunities and validate your interest. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn are great for this.
Your own personal brand is your USP. This is the most important part of making a career change. You need to rebrand yourself. Everyone looking for a job uses tools such as a CV, cover letters and social profiles to create a brand that makes sense to potential employers. This is even more significant during a career change because your current branding will most likely not be aligned with what you’re looking for. Think about all your previous experiences and see how you can tailor them into making you a better candidate for the role you are applying for.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool to accomplish this. Make sure your photo is up-to-date as well as your work experience. Focus on writing a good introduction where you highlight your soft and transferable skills and try to stablish yourself as a professional in the desired field. Remember that your online personality is an extension of yourself and when looking for a change, is totally free advertisement and a powerful tool to get one foot in the door.
You will also need to revamp your CV. If your resume still focuses on your previous industry, you need to tailor some information. You want to highlight the transferable and soft skills that you’ve gain throughout your life in order to make you a more desirable candidate. Always point out your achievements in previous positions as your potential employer will still want to know that you delivered tangible results and are a motivated and productive employee. Get as specific as you can.
On interviews or conversations with potential employers, make sure you stand out by taking action. Show you are committed to the field by initiating conversations about your industry knowledge or industry events you’ve attended to. Your goal is to make sure the employer sees you as someone already in the industry and in it to stay.
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