Changing careers can be a daunting prospect, but it’s a task many must undertake at least once in their life. When embarking on a search for a new career, there are a number of things to remember if you want the process to be as painless as possible.
Have a vision
Firstly, it’s important to realise that a career is different to a job. A career is something which can, with luck, set you on a professional path which lasts your entire working life; it will almost certainly involve multiple jobs, and a successful career will hopefully ensure a fairly smooth and logical transition between them.
Therefore, it’s vital to take some time to consider what it actually is that you’d like to do for the rest of your working life. This will naturally narrow down your options.
This isn’t to say you should box yourself in, rather you should have a definite idea of the type of industry you’d like to work in. You can of course stay open to opportunities you hadn’t initially considered, if something presents itself. But in order to successfully find a new career opportunity – one which you have a genuine chance of flourishing in – you first need to define the parameters of your search.
So, take the time to think about your passions and skills. Understanding your desires, interests and strengths should mean you don’t find yourself applying for jobs aimlessly. You have to have a vision for your future.
Look in the right places
Make the internet work for you. Set yourself a daily task to check at least one job site or, better still, sign up to a job board – there are many free subscriptions out there and it should mean you get job opportunities emailed directly to you. Evenfields’ Job Board contains some great career opportunities for a wide range of interests and skill sets.
Companies will also sometimes post job opportunities on social media due to the immense reach they have, so it’s a good idea to always have one eye on these platforms (I mean, who doesn’t these days?)
Of course, the internet isn’t the only place to search. One of the best places to check for potential career opportunities is the Employment section or Help Wanted section of a newspaper (otherwise known as the Classified section).
It’s also a good idea to get out into the real world and network. Visiting job fairs can be a great way of job searching as you actually get to meet (and hopefully impress) potential employers face-to-face. This can be an invaluable experience.
A 2016 LinkedIn study revealed that a huge 85% of jobs were filled through networking i.e. through recommendations and offers coming as a result of natural conversations. The lesson here is clear – the more you get out there and be sociable, the more potential doors you could be opening to that dream job.
And by ‘getting out there’, we don’t just mean literally. Set yourself a daily task of sending a message or engaging in some way online with a relevant stakeholder at a company you would love to work for. Be sure to keep any communication concise, positive and, most importantly, to the point. It pays to be direct here, so if you are looking for an opportunity, make that clear, don’t beat around the bush. Just remember to keep it polite of course!
It can also pay to communicate your situation to friends, family and other acquaintances – don’t be shy about letting people know you are looking for a new career opportunity. You’ll be amazed at how often a casual conversation can open doors. The more people who have you in mind, the greater the chance of an opportunity coming your way.
Research each job properly before you apply
Don’t waste your time applying for roles you aren’t actually suited to. The devil is in the details, so take the time to properly check what a role entails – you may find you aren’t interested once you dig into the specifics.
The other thing to check is the role requirements, but use your judgement here; on the one hand, you’re probably best advised to skip on a role if you don’t fulfil an ‘essential requirement’ which you can tell really would be essential. However, don’t be put off if you don’t fulfil literally every single requirement they list. For example, if you are interested in a designer role which lists ‘proficiency with Adobe software’ as a requirement, don’t let the fact that you’ve never used Adobe Audition deter you from applying. As long as you have experience with other relevant Adobe products, you’re good to go. Plus, you can always learn any software you don’t know in preparation for the job (and often even on the job itself via training).
Virtually nobody stumbles into their dream jobs overnight, or without a considerable amount of hard work and knockbacks along the way. It’s important to remain positive, patient and resilient, as positive energy opens lots more doors than negative energy does. With a positive attitude you’re also a lot more likely to spot and take an opportunity that you may have missed if you were downbeat. Keep searching, keep networking and keep believing – the perfect career could be just around the next corner!