A new year often brings awareness to areas of your life that need a change, such as taking a different approach or choosing a unique perspective in going after your goals. Choosing a new perspective is especially true for those thinking about changing careers and conducting an active job search. If your job search has not been as productive as you were hoping for last year or the thoughts of staying in the same job brings on a sense of dread, then it could be time to try six new approaches to your career.
1. Know your interests. Make sure you know what interests you before starting your search so that you can have a good conversation with those you meet. For some, it can be challenging to talk about their interests because they are too broad. Many times, career changers get caught up with the belief they should have one right career choice. It is okay to have multiple career interests. Most people do. However, to make progress in gathering information and moving your career forward, it helps to have a direction. Create a list of industries and job titles that interest you the most and prioritize them.
2. Stay flexible. Cultivate a different mindset, try something new, especially if you have been searching for months and have received minimum results. Make it your goal to stretch yourself with new habits. Doing the same activities and expecting new results is a form of self-sabotage. Change your attitude. What worked in the past may not work in today’s job market. Let go of routines that prevent you from landing a good job, such as staying in a rut applying for jobs every day with little results. Start the year with a fresh perspective of being open to new activities like reaching out to new contacts on LinkedIn, registering for training programs, or volunteering.
3. Focus on the present. Keep your focus on where you are going, not where you have been. When you start focusing on the value you bring today instead of what happened in the past; it will empower you with renewed energy. Your combination of work experiences and transferable skills suddenly brings a new perspective to opportunities that you could have easily overlooked. To help you prepare for a different approach in focusing on your value, answer these questions first:
- What makes you want to change careers?
- What are some specific areas that you could contribute to immediately?
- What are your qualifications?
- What sets you apart from others who share a similar background with you?
4. Implement a follow-up strategy. Make it a habit to follow-up on the information you receive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict where your next career opportunity will surface. Taking the time to follow-up with people you meet sounds like a common task on your to-do list as a job candidate, yet you would be surprised that only a few send follow-up emails. It is staggering to think your follow-up email could be the key that made the hiring decision-maker pull your resume out of a database of resumes and take a second look. But it’s true. A follow-up email will create a different connection point for you and send a message that you are genuinely interested in talking more about the opportunity. Follow-up with every lead your contacts shares with you. Doing so sends a message that you appreciate their time and willingness to help, plus it helps you build future relationships.
5. Be curious. Curiosity tends to create new possibilities by learning about industries and jobs that interest you. Use your sense of curiosity to explore different career paths instead of relying on passion only. Talk with those currently working in your field of interest to seek more understanding and information about the challenges facing a specific industry. Your efforts in researching information often help you with new ideas that can open doors of opportunity.
6. Build your personal brand. Today more than ever you need to distinguish yourself among others especially when growing your career. Creating your own personal brand can benefit you in several ways and is something you need to do to boost your career. Branding helps you identify your top skills and why they are important to you. A personal brand helps you structure your introductions and organize your thoughts in a clear concise way that employers will remember.
What do you plan to do differently this year in managing your career?