Are you in a career rut? If you are in a job you're not crazy about and have considered a complete career change, you are not alone. Once you've decided to take a leap of faith on yourself, you can turn your dreams of a fulfilling livelihood into reality. Here is some helpful advice to get where you want to go from someone who has walked in your shoes: me. Regardless of your age, gender, location or profession, these pointers will propel you in the right direction.
Identify your signature strengths - Imagine waking up in the morning full of excitement to start your workday. This can be your reality if you are in a job that is aligned with your signature strengths; things you enjoy doing and are good at. It sounds simple, but it takes some self-reflection to evaluate what your natural strengths are. Identifying your strengths is vital to identifying a career choice that will leave you truly fulfilled and energized. Need help finding your strengths? Visit websites such as www.authentichappiness.com to take the VIA Survey of Character Strengths assessment for free.
Show up well everywhere - Make sure your image is consistent throughout every direct or indirect interaction you have with your next prospective employer. Of course, you want your resume to stand out for all of the right reasons. This is only the beginning. Create a LinkedIn profile that is professional and worth remembering. Put your best foot forward when interacting at networking events, and don't forget to do a personal social media audit. Ensure your privacy settings are working properly so a recruiter doesn't stumble across something you wouldn't want them to see on your Facebook or Twitter account.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla
Remember any progress is good progress - Chances are you may be juggling another job while trying to find your dream gig. Be realistic with your goals and don't get discouraged. If you only have a few hours to work on your job search one week, take it at face value. As long as you are consistently putting yourself out there, you are making progress. Don't let an especially hectic work week get you down or feeling hopeless. Any progress is good progress.
Talk to people ... and don't stop - Studies have shown that up to 80 percent of job offers come from networking. What does this mean to you? It's all about who you know. Join professional associations, become active in your college's alumni organization, and engage in conversations on LinkedIn with other professionals. Having "face time" with others will open the door to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise known about.
Don't talk yourself down - Once you've landed your interview in a new career, remember not to sell yourself short. Even if you haven't ever worked in the exact same job before, stay focused on what you do have to offer. The interview is your time to shine. Your next potential employer is truly interested in hearing about what you can do for their organization. Don't make the mistake a lot of career changers make by apologizing or pointing out the lack of directly related experience you have. Instead, talk about your past accomplishments and relate them to what you know about their company.
Relate where you've been to where you're going - When you are pursuing a career that may at first seem unlike anything you've done before, it is important to change your perspective. Instead of psyching yourself out because you haven't done this type of job before, take some time to identify transferrable skills from what you have done. During your interview, tell a story about how you first became interested in this type of work. Point out any similarities between the job you're interviewing for and your current or most recent job. Show them why you are the best candidate because of the diverse experience you have gained.
Arm yourself with a little guidance and a lot of self-confidence. It's time to stop dreaming and start doing. Your next career could be right around the corner, but you won't get there without taking the first step.
Elizabeth P. Cipolla is a business communications professional specializing in the areas of leadership training, creative recruitment strategies, professional development and executive coaching for more than 13 years. She brings leadership experience from various industries including marketing, mass media, apparel, education, manufacturing, nonprofit agencies and insurance. To contact Elizabeth, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.changeagentsee.com.