It’s time for a change…a career change that is! Your current position is no longer cutting it and you’re in need of something new. Before you make any hasty decisions, evaluate your motives. If you’re simply seeking a higher salary, then consider speaking with your manager about a raise first. However, if you want a more challenging role, a specific company culture, or something different altogether, then a change may truly be best. Follow these tips from our expert recruiters on making your career transition as easy as possible.
As you begin to search for a new position, take a moment to think about what you really want in this next opportunity. John Jameson, Executive Recruiter of CFS Chicago, says to determine what you enjoyed about your previous positions in order to help you find the right fit in your next one. Looking at the people you worked with, the traits of your past supervisors, how you were engaged, and the various projects you worked on will help you realize exactly what you like and dislike.
Having this clarity is essential for you to make the right career move. Utilize resources like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, interviews, etc. to provide you with the best information possible to help you decide whether or not the company would be a good fir for you.
Create a Plan
Knowing what you want is one thing, but putting it into action is another. Start by creating a plan with SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed) goals. Jameson urges you to share your goals with someone who will hold you accountable, such as a recruiter. This helps ensure that you don’t slack off at any point and provides you with an additional support system as well.
Determine Your Strengths
Self-assessment is key; you must reflect on the skills you have already developed. Patrick Senn, Managing Director of CFS Minneapolis, says you have to determine how your background and experience applies to the opportunities you’re interested in pursuing. In addition to understanding the skills you have acquired through your work, it is an added bonus if you can identify your true personality strengths as well. Tools such as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and “strength finder tests” can help you with this.
Now that you have identified all of your skills and strengths, it is crucial that you incorporate them into your resume. If you are looking to change career paths completely, Senn reminds you to look for parallels between what you’ve done and what you are hoping to do. You need to communicate with potential employers that you have what it takes to succeed.
Engage Your Network
Change isn’t easy, but no one ever said you had to go through this process alone. In fact, you shouldn’t be. You should be talking to people who are currently in the roles that you aspire to be in to gain as much information as possible. Senn suggests attending industry related gatherings, networking events, or conferences and reading industry related articles to gain more knowledge. Jameson adds that conducting informational and mock interviews is another great way to engage your network. These efforts will not only help you gather an immeasurable amount of advice, but support as well.
It’s important to remember that if you’re planning “to completely change careers, you may have to take a step back before you are able to take a step forward, as you are considered entry level due to lack of hands on experience in this area,” adds Senn. You can’t expect that jumping from one type of career to another to be as easy as changing your clothes- it takes work.
Do you have any additional tips for changing careers? We’d love to hear them in your comments below!