With summer fading into fall, there’s a sense of change in the air. Leaves turning bright hues. Preparing for the dreaded time change. And with this transition, are you thinking about changing your career? If so, we’ve got you covered.
Step 1: Read through our “6 Reality Checks” to see if you’re ready to stretch yourself.
Prepared to take the plunge? Here’s how:
Self-Assessment: Finding Your Passion
UC Berkeley Information School Career Services Director Rebecca Anderson recommends that you start by focusing on your values, patterns and strengths.
What are the values you’re willing to stand up for, to argue about at dinner parties (or perhaps just on social media)?
Write these values down and look for patterns. Do the same with your strengths, passions and energy drains (the work you know you never want to do again).
Once you’ve figured out the type of work you’re interested in, go check it out in real life.
Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people holding the job you aspire to. What are their backgrounds and credentials? What professional groups and associations have they joined? How do they present their expertise?
But don’t fall into the trap of relying solely on Internet research; informational interviews enable you to have an in-person or phone conversation with a professional in your area of interest, as well as provide networking opportunities. Just remember that you’re there to gather information, not to sell yourself or put your interviewee on the spot by asking for a job (though you should bring your updated résumé along in case they ask for it!)
You Know What You Want, How Do You Get There?
At this stage, assess what skills you need to learn and how to obtain them.
If you need to reskill or earn another degree, you may be considering grad school. But the typical on-campus master’s degree will take you out of the workforce for two years, which means not only two years of lost salary, but also work experience and retirement contributions.
The good news is that a certificate can be the bridge between where you are now and the work you want to do, and is relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of a master’s or professional degree. And some employers will fund your training. Read more about the advantages of earning a certificate.
You’ve Got the Skills, Now What?
Rework Your Résumé, CV or Portfolio
Creating and editing a résumé that stands out is still critical. If you’re short on time, we’ve got "Top 10 Résumé Tips to Get You Noticed," as well as a longer guide that builds on the personal-branding strategies presented by Rebecca Anderson.
A sharp portfolio can also help you visually pull together your accomplishments so you have something to point to in an interview: Show, don’t just tell!
You probably know to update your LinkedIn profile whenever you change your job title or company, or take on significant new responsibilities. To pivot your career in a new direction, however, there are some special considerations.
To give your profile more traction, maintain it throughout the year.
- Log in frequently. Treat it like your other social media accounts.
- Interact with your connections’ content.
- Join groups of professional interest where companies may post jobs.
- Create content of your own for others to interact with and boost your visibility.
- Make yourself visible to recruiters without broadcasting that you’re available using LinkedIn’s Open Candidates feature.
- Don’t forget a professional profile picture and a background photo.
Learn more about optimizing your LinkedIn profile from LinkedIn Account Executive Giselle Sevgi.
Watch a webinar led by Jolie Miller, senior manager of business content at LinkedIn Learning.
Slack. Wait, Slack?
Slacking your way to a new position certainly sounds suspect. But numerous Slack communities are springing up, and in them are job-listing channels and opportunities to find out what people in your ideal jobs are saying and doing in the day-to-day. Most of the growth is in the tech industry, predictably, but Slack can be a resource for all job-hunters by providing networking opportunities in communities of interest.
Networking is simply too vital to be overlooked: According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey, “85 percent of jobs are filled via networking of some sort.”
Read more about expanding your professional network. Gather some concrete strategies and tips for talking to new people (PDF) from 2018 NOW Conference presenter Julia Schaletzky. Perfect your elevator speech, which should concisely summarize your transferable skills and what you’re looking to pivot into.
Need more guidance?
There’s an overwhelming amount of career-transition advice out there. We hope this guide helps you identify what you’d like to move toward and how to get there. In addition to providing collected career content in the Professional Pathways section of our blog, we’re here to help in person. Our next career clinic, “Making a Successful Career Transition,” will be held on Oct. 13, 2018.