I recently wrote an e-report entitled, “10 Things to Think About if You are Ready to Change Your Job or Career.” Here are what I consider to be three of the most important:
Related: The Best Advice For A Career Change
1. Decide what you want.
As a Career Makeover Coach, when I meet people for their first consultation, I ask them, “So what do you want to do?” More often than not, I get a blank look and a shrug of the shoulders. This is especially true of the individuals who were working and got laid off or terminated. Even if they hated their previous job, they were not planning to go anywhere, and now that they are suddenly out of work, they are at a loss as to what to do next.
What I don’t want for any of my clients is that they take a job that they wind up hating. My belief is that life is too short to spend it doing anything that you hate for a living. Jobs are insidious in that they can trap you into thinking that you have to “settle.” You don’t.
Knowing what you want to, however, can be a tricky proposition. You need to get in touch with what you are. Consider the following questions and really give them some thought. What are your talents? What are your natural dispositions and inclinations? What are your special and unique gifts? Are you good in math? Are you a writer? Are you an artist or a musician at heart? Do you enjoy working with your hands? What kinds of problems do you like to solve? What are your hobbies? How do you love to spend your time? Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved if you could spend your time in a job that called on your best assets and rewarded you in ways that go beyond a paycheck?
This desire for work that is meaningful accounts for the popular idea that you can follow your passion and find your next job. I know some people discount this notion, and some people think that is hokey or “woo-woo.” I don’t. I think you should investigate carefully what you want to do with your life and then go for it instead of settling for a job or career that just makes you miserable.
Life is a journey, and it is all about learning. When I was young, I was lucky enough to land a job that was perfect for my natural aptitudes and general dispositions. As the school librarian for four different elementary school libraries over the course of 30+ years, I was definitely in my element. I loved books, and they surrounded me! I loved kids, but I loved not being solely responsible for them all day long, too. I especially loved the periods of solitude where I worked on cataloging and shelving, and just “being,” while doing a job that I felt was meaningful while it was also personally fulfilling. I didn’t get rich, and for some periods during my early career, I had to opt for second jobs to pay the bills, but I managed.
In this phase of my career as a Career Makeover Coach, I get to indulge my love of writing and sharing my experience and expertise with others. I love encouraging people to take chances on themselves and considering the possibility of re-inventing and re-tooling themselves. I did it, so why not you? The first task, however, is to get clear about what it is you want to do and what you already know how to do well. If you are unclear, try reading What Color is Your Parachute by Richard N. Boles, Careerealism by J.T. O’Donnell, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, or taking an online assessment. If you need to, invest in a program like the Pathway Planner™ which is an in-depth career assessment tool that points out various aspects of your personality, aptitudes and inclinations. You can use it as an educational and career-planning tool to help you discover what career possibilities best suit you.
Finding the right career match for yourself will increase your probability of meeting success and satisfaction. If you are struggling in this area, there are several different assessments that can be found online for free or for a fee.
Some people benefit from journaling and describing in detail the type of job they believe would be best for them. Find a strategy that will work for you, and spend some time thinking deeply about where you want to take your next step professionally. There is no point in accepting the first thing that comes along if you are likely to be miserable. Your first priority as a job hunter or career switcher is to get in touch with what you believe your mission and purpose is, and find a job that is in alignment with that mission or purpose. You will enjoy a job that is in alignment with your core values far more than you will enjoy one that you feel has no real meaning.
2. The second thing to consider is whether your resume reflects what you want to do as opposed to what you have been doing.
Many people mistakenly believe that a resume is a strict summary of everything they have ever done and everything they have ever accomplished to date. Your resume should, instead, reflect the value that you bring to a potential employer. You need to answer the question, “What is in it for the company to take a chance on hiring me?”
Also consider: What problem(s) can you solve? Can you make the company money? Can you save the company money? Those are the main reasons anyone ever gets hired, so you need to craft your resume accordingly. The REAL purpose of your resume is to get you invited for an interview. If you forget that fact, you miss the point of writing a resume that presents you in the best possible light.
3. The third thing that you cannot afford to overlook is your LinkedIn profile.
Many people still don’t understand the real value of LinkedIn or know how to leverage it to help them land their next great job opportunity. Do not skip having a professional looking and fully optimized LinkedIn profile, and do not skip over the fact that you need to engage with individuals and groups inside of LinkedIn. Once you have fully optimized your profile, find Groups that are related to your professional area or interest. Join groups where you could interact with individuals who have the job or do work that you would enjoy. Like, share, and post articles that you see from others. Post articles of your own as long as they are well written and provide value.
Don’t mistake LinkedIn for Facebook. The purpose of your LinkedIn profile is to help you shine professionally. Facebook is for fun, friends, and family. Never confuse the purpose of the two platforms. Keep all of your LinkedIn messages and updates professional. Connect with others who are in the same or similar field. Reconnect with alumni with whom you may have lost touch. Use LinkedIn for networking virtually while you are also getting out of the house and networking in person (the fourth thing you should know about job hunting or career changing).
There are many moving parts to the job search process, and I have only touched on three and alluded to a fourth, which is networking. If you are interested in the e-report that I wrote that outlines ten things you should consider, please feel free to download it..
Changing jobs or careers can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. You can be successful if and when you learn the process. Take the time to know what you want and use your resume and LinkedIn profile as tools for helping you land the job or change to the career that will fulfill you both financially and emotionally.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
Kitty Boitnott, Ph.D., NBCT, RScP is a Career Makeover Coach who helps individuals find work that is perfect for them. She specializes in working with teachers who are burnt out and ready for a change, but she also works with mid-career professionals who find themselves ready to make a move that will feel more professionally fulfilling. Learn more about her here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock