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Changing careers can be challenging, especially in the current job market. However, taking action to utilize all the tools you have control over as a candidate can make the transition process easier and faster. Here are 7 steps for a successful career change for a new job function, industry or location:
1. Understanding your needs
Changing careers requires investing time, energy, and money. Taking into account the resources required, it makes sense to start by understanding what you are looking to achieve. Think about your current circumstances to identify the gap that you want to bridge by changing careers. Perhaps there is something missing from your current job or maybe it is something that you have to do but not really enjoy. Additionally, considering whether the timing for a career change is right can also be crucial and it is best to think upfront. Once you are clear with the fundamentals, you are ready to move to the next step.
2. Market Research
The next important step is doing market research to create a data-based action plan. You can use various websites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Google to get insights regarding the options you are considering. In addition, make sure you scan through your network to identify relevant people you can speak with, such as professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers. This information will allow you to solidify your decisions regarding your target job function, employers, industry, and location.
3. Job Search
After setting a high-level goal, it may make sense to narrow down your options. Use websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster amongst others to identify specific jobs you are interested in. Identify your target job titles and seniority level through research based on what meets your criteria. Then, select jobs and employers that resonate with your values, business culture, and ways of working instead of selecting purely based on the brand, as this may be irrelevant.
4. Updating your Resume and Cover Letter
Once you have shortlisted your dream jobs, it is time to create a resume and cover letter. You can do this by looking at the job and person specifications from the job ad and creating your documentation using all relevant keywords and concepts. Keep in mind to use best practice scope, structure, and format too.
5. Developing your personal brand
Developing your personal brand is an ongoing process. You can start today and should continue even after you have successfully changed your career. One of the easiest ways to do this is by optimally utilizing your LinkedIn account. Identify the right people for you and engage with them on LinkedIn. Look for content related to your desired industry and like, share, and comment to increase your reach. Most importantly, create and publish content showcasing your strengths, expertise, and personality, such as posts, articles, and videos.
6. Making Applications
Once you have finalized your planning, it is time to start making applications. This is not a one-off process, but an ongoing one. We suggest developing a plan based on your personal needs and following it for consistency. For example, you can scan the market, save jobs, and submit applications twice a week. Also, set reminders and use a tracker to be organized and stay on track.
7. Preparing for assessments
While not all of your applications will convert to opportunities, you should prepare for interviews and other assessments. You can do this in three steps. Firstly, conduct research to understand how to manage the upcoming assessment using best practice. Secondly, make sure to research the company and interviewers thoroughly in preparation for the assessment. Lastly, do a mock interview with your friends, family or work with a professional career strategist.
Changing careers can be hard, but an efficient plan with effective implementation will help you get through it successfully.