Years ago, I began a new job search after 10 years in positions that required many different skills. I scoured numerous job postings, applied for many positions, and received countless rejection notifications. Related: 3 Very Real Reasons You Should Make A Career Shift In an exploratory interview with a colleague, I expressed my frustration about not being able to find a job. He asked me what else I’d done in my work and academic careers, as well as my volunteer activities. I casually mentioned a project that I had worked on years ago, and – voila! My job search took another direction. I began looking for jobs in different career areas, and the doors began to open. Soon, I was working in a different field – one for which I had relevant skills but that I had not imagined would be viable for me. That job led to a successful 10-year career in a new field!
My Biggest Lesson LearnedLooking back, I now know what I was doing wrong in the beginning – I could not see I needed a career shift and didn’t believe it was possible. I kept looking for the same types of jobs in the same career field. The key lesson for me is that no experience, no matter how small, should be ignored. Cite all jobs, skills, or volunteer activities in your resume and online profiles, such as LinkedIn. Include your 3-month stint editing a blog, your 7-month leadership role organizing a trip, the meetings you led for your community organization, the online fundraising campaign you organized on Facebook, your volunteer work for a non-profit helping them market their services, and so on. Be open to all options because there may be amazing and different opportunities out there that you never thought of pursuing!
Resources For Job Seekers And Career ChangersMany of today’s job seekers need additional support to transition to new jobs or new careers. Many are long-term unemployed or working in a field they’ve outgrown. Most are like I was—unaware of their transferable skills. If you are in a job or career transition, there are many resources available, including tools to help you explore new occupations. For example:
1. mySkillsmyFutureThis free skill transferability tool is great for you if you’re a career changer or job seeker who likes searching online. If you enter your current job or a previous job, you’ll get a list of “Best Matches” — careers that have similar skills to the job you entered. You can compare these occupations with your current or past job, view the skills and salaries of both jobs, find training, see job listings, find businesses that may have these jobs, review typical job duties, see common tools and technology used, and find any relevant certifications or licenses. You can personalize your results by entering your city, state, or zip code. Plus, you can filter your results further by excluding work activities or characteristics, such as public speaking, outdoor work, physical strength, and so on.
2. Mobile SearchesIf you’re more likely to use your smartphone than a computer, five mobile applications are helpful:
- Find an American Job Center enables you to locate and contact your closest American Job Center, where you can get assistance with a variety of employment and training issues
- Find a Job searches a huge database of job listings, updated daily, in any local U.S. area
- Veterans Job Search matches military job experience to civilian careers, and then displays local job listings for those careers
- Salary Finder provides average hourly wages or annual salaries by occupation and location
- Training Finder helps you locate education and training programs in your local area