How you can change careers and find a job you actually like
Do you often daydream about finding a new career? Feeling stuck in your current position? You’re in good company—no pun intended. According to a Workplace Health Survey conducted by Mental Health America, 71 percent of Americans are on the lookout for a new job. Reasons for a career change are as wide and varied as the individuals who have them. Maybe it’s a boss you can’t stand. Maybe it’s a salary issue.
Or maybe you’ve reached as high as you can within a company and now you’re looking for a new challenge. Whatever your reasons, you know you’re ready to take the leap. Here’s how you can set yourself up for success and get a better job.
Know what you want
Why are you leaving your current job? Is it a surface-level issue, or something deeper? Do you need better benefits? A more supportive environment? Or a more challenging one? Looking at what specifically makes you unhappy in your current career will help you make an informed decision when looking for a new one. The same applies to elements of your current job that you enjoy.
The more specific you can be when looking for a new position, the better. After all, job searching is tiring, and you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and burn out. The more you think about what you really want and need from a career change, the more likely you are to find a job that’s worth the time and effort of a job search.
Revamp your resume
Everyone knows having a good resume is crucial to a successful career change. Make sure yours is up to date and targeted for the specific position for which you’re applying. Potential employers can tell when you send a blanket resume for every job opening.
If you really want the job, why not put in the effort to present yourself as the best possible candidate? Include anything on your resume that applies to your desired position, even if isn’t a main part of your current one. If you don’t have much experience in your new field, sign up for extra courses to show employers you’re committed to learning.
Reach out to your network
Okay, you’re ready to start your search. There are the usual job search sites (LinkedIn, Indeed, JobSpot, etc.), but you should also reach out to your personal network. Let friends, family, and professional contacts know you’re looking for a new job, and also what you’re looking for specifically.
An estimated 70 to 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking or internal hires. This means it’s highly beneficial for you to be active within professional organizations—like your local chamber of commerce or your college alumni program—and attend events such as job fairs and professional conferences. And don’t underestimate “extracurriculars” such as any community service or religious groups you may already be part of.
Hone your interview skills
“So, tell us about yourself.” This is a pretty standard first question in an interview, and a fantastic opportunity to show interviewers just how perfect a candidate you are. This is not the time to talk about your pets, hobbies, or astrological sign.
This is your opportunity to give interviewers an elevator pitch of who you are as a professional and what you can bring to their company. Talk about your extensive experience in customer relations, or a major project you completed at your last job, or how passionate you are about working for a company that does what they do. And be prepared with some intelligent follow-up questions for the end of the interview.
Consider your offer
Hurray! You’ve received a job offer. Time to accept, right? Hold up a minute. You want to make sure this is the right fit for your needs, otherwise you might find yourself back on the hunt for a new job in just a few years. Take a little time, research company reviews, peruse the pay and benefits they’re offering. Then, once you’re sure this job checks off all your boxes, you can go ahead and sign on the dotted line. Congratulations!