They say that job opportunities are hard to come by and will never knock twice and often circumstances push us to take a different direction instead of following the path to pursue the career that we are passionate about. In today’s modern society, we often grab the first chance of employment that is offered to us. A common reason for this is that one often feels compelled to take the first available opportunity due to either financial reasons or the convenience it offers.
While having any type of job that helps put food on the table and pay the bills is something we should all be thankful for, there are those days when you think about the what-ifs in your career. Often, these moments make us wonder and question if it is too late to make the career switch we’ve dreamed of. There is a different sense of satisfaction when you’re pursuing a job or career in something that you’re truly passionate about. The sense of fulfillment and the motivation to become more successful is almost magnified.
Instead of putting the idea of a potential career switch to your dream job on the back burner again, why not take the necessary actions for you to get closer to your dream job. We’ve put together 5 actionable steps that you can take to switch to your ideal career path.
1. Create a Professional Social Media Presence
Before you even start submitting applications, you need to work on improving your social media accounts first. Sprucing up your social media profiles is a great step towards increasing your marketability. Make sure they look professional and free from posts that may potentially ruin your chances of getting hired.
According to a career builder survey, seven out of ten hiring companies use social media as a background checker tool to see if a candidate is a good fit. Over half of the hiring companies have decided not to hire someone as a result of what they see on the candidate’s profile. Having unprofessional photos, inappropriate comments, and controversial items on your social media profiles might be the thing that gets you eliminated from consideration for a job. Don’t make the bad mistake of impacting your job search because of a couple of bad social media posts. Clean up your profiles and make them private.
2. Build Offline and Online Connections
Be More Active on LinkedIn
If there is one networking site that you should focus on when trying to expand your professional network, make it LinkedIn. This is a powerful tool that can help you get found by hiring managers and recruiters. By networking professionally on LinkedIn, you can significantly increase the chances that someone important from the industry that you’re pursuing job opportunities in will help you along or forward your name to someone important during the consideration and hiring process. It is also a great place for you to connect with like-minded individuals and industry leaders from whom you can learn some best practices and tips to get ahead during your job search and interview process.
It is also important to note that you can improve your profile by making sure every section of your profile is filled out. Add pertinent information related to the job you are aiming for and take the time to learn how to add a resume on LinkedIn so that the document is easily accessible on your profile. In short, make it easy for the recruiter to shortlist you.
Lastly, try to get recommendations from current and former colleagues. This helps build your credibility as an employee and job seeker which is something that your future employer might want to see. Even if you are not actively applying for your dream role just yet, it pays to build your professional portfolio.
Be Ready with Your Business Cards
Another great way to help you separate yourself from others and make the switch to your dream job a little bit easier is to get a stack of your business cards. Don’t be shy when it comes to handing out personal business cards to people you meet. One of the best ways to land a job is through employee referrals. Who knows, the next person you have coffee with may just be your link to your dream job.
3. Work on Improving Your Communication Skills
According to a GMAC survey, hiring professionals prefer to hire someone with strong communication skills. This is followed by listening and writing skills. The ability to effectively communicate is a requirement when most companies look for their next employee. This means that you should dedicate a sizable portion of your time while pursuing new opportunities to work on your communication skills so that you’re ready to properly display them when the time comes.
You can practice answering common industry interview questions which will give you some time to effectively practice some of the tougher interview questions and get comfortable giving answers while improving your communication skills. One thing to actively remember while you’re practicing and working on your communication skills is to practice giving direct and clear answers when talking to colleagues and friends. If you’re worried about what your friends or colleagues might say, you can even get a professional coach to help you work on your communication skills.
4. Map Your Switch
If you plan on quitting before landing a new job, make sure you have your finances in order and you have enough funds to tide you over during the next coming months. It’s important to remember that while you can make a job switch or career change at any time if you have savings, it’s much easier and far less stressful to make a job switch when you’re currently employed. Job searches can take months and you don’t want to have to burn through your savings if you don’t need to. It’s important to make sure that before you pursue a career change, you have your ducks in a row. While chasing your dreams is perfectly fine, quitting your current job before you have another one in the bag and going broke is not exactly the wisest thing to do.
The most practical steps include creating a timeline, finalizing your budget, and planning a solid back-up should things not go your way.
5. Conduct a Self-Assessment
Self-awareness is crucial not only when it comes to identifying what you’re good at, but more importantly, in identifying areas that you need to work on. By acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, you can come up with a career development plan to help you enhance your skills and broaden the number of potential job opportunities you can pursue. You can either go through training, seminar, or mentorships. It’s important to remember that you should be open to learning new skills and be on the lookout for ways to significantly increase your value over time.
A Harvard career advisor suggests that before you change your career paths, you should take a personality assessment to identify your interests. From there, you can use a career development tool to help identify your skills and capabilities. You can then use this information to gain clarity on whether or not the ideal job that you have in mind is something that you can actually do or would be good at.
It’s important to remember that a career switch needs thorough planning and a lot of preparation to ensure a seamless transition. Take ample time to go through each step of your career map and don’t be afraid to ask for professional recommendations from industry leaders or from mentors who went through a similar change. You will learn a lot from people who successfully switched careers in the past.
Changing jobs is not something you want to take lightly, as it requires thorough planning, research, and preparation. However, if you can execute things properly using some of the tips we’ve mentioned above, you can end up with a rewarding career that will give you both the personal and occupational satisfaction that you are looking for.
About The Author
Nadia Henderson is a writer and contributor to ContentCampfire.com. She writes about job searches and career development in hopes of providing better information.
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