“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder” – Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
CNN recently reported on a study indicating that millennials are likely to have held four jobs by age 32. This constant movement can be attributed to a number of things – desire for rapid growth, a sizable raise, or a change in work culture or environment. Whatever the reason, it is clear that now more than ever, switching roles - and sometimes industries - can be one of the most effective ways to progress in the working world.
For many, the thought of switching roles is daunting. Uncertainty can be scary, but to succeed in chasing your goals, there is a need to become more comfortable with uncertainty. This is especially true for job seekers looking to switch industries. One thing is certain – wherever you land next, you want to be somewhere growth is within reach.
If you are seeking to make a move – you may be looking for guidance on how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. The roadmap below is designed to provide answers to some of your questions.
- Map your timeline – Determine when you want to secure a new job. Is it 3 months from now? 6 months or 18 months? Setting an achievable goal for yourself is critical in this process. Note that the length of time it takes to secure a new job can be anywhere from a few days to several months – so make sure you set reasonable expectations for yourself. Once you’ve set a target date, you can build a plan of action around that timeline. (For those out of work when beginning the search process, time is of the essence, but know that finding the right position for you may not happen overnight.)
- Identify your skills – Do not underestimate your current skill set. The best way to visualize the skills you’ve honed so far is to build a new – and unrefined – resume from scratch. (Note: this will not be the resume you send to future employers.) Start by listing every skill and task that falls within your current and former roles. This could be a 6-page list! Review this list and identify the skills you’d like to refine in your future role.
- Conduct informational interviews and network – Meet with people who hold positions at companies that pique your interest. Ask questions about their daily routine and work culture, and seek advice on how you can best position yourself to land and prepare for an interview. Consider attending industry-related events. For some, building these additional after-work or lunch meetings into the work day can be a challenge, but it is one that is essential to making a successful pivot.
- Enhance your skills – After speaking with people in your desired industry, you should be able to identify skills that you may not already possess. Take time to volunteer, sign up for a local or online course, or ramp up your reading list to attain those skills needed for the job.
- Perfect your resume – Create resumes tailored to your desired jobs. No one resume template will, or should, work for all openings. Hiring managers know when you're bluffing or simply cutting and pasting in your resume. Show your desired employers respect by illustrating that you've taken time to research the company and the position, and build those connections into your resume and all other communications.
- Begin the application process – Don’t wait too long to apply for jobs. Start sending applications and begin the interview process shortly after you've updated your resume. This will help to gauge how long the process will take. Also, take the opportunity to receive feedback and determine if there are skill gaps that you can fill as your search continues.
Best wishes as you set out on your job search!
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