The start of a new year is about new beginnings. For many, this means re-evaluating your job, working towards a promotion, or looking for a fresh start in your career.
Plotting your career path is not always a straight line. Between the ages of 21 and 25, I probably had four different career paths. I worry that today’s generation would view that as failure; it’s not. The process of finding the right path takes time. That said, here are six tips for landing a new job in 2018 that might help save you a few years of searching.
- Get Recruiter Ready. First things first, before you put yourself out there it’s important you have a good story to tell your professional contacts and recruiters on your online channels. Consult free, online resources like CareerBuilder and LinkedIn to help you shape a solid resume and LinkedIn profile. You also may want to consider engaging a professional photographer to do some fresh headshots for your online profile. Lastly, make sure to have a trusted colleague or friend review your online profiles and resume.
- Find the Right Fit. Create your target wish list of companies and organizations you’d like to work for. Then, mine your LinkedIn contacts for any 1st degree relationships at these organizations. Don’t be afraid to ask for warm introductions to individuals and go talk to them about the industry, the firm, and the best way to find opportunities.
- Network like crazy. Look for social and professional events that attract folks working in and around your target companies and industries. If possible, arrange to have a friend in the industry join you to help with warm introductions. Grab business cards and follow-up with those people for informational meetings.
- Be open to investing in skill-building. When you’re changing careers or even jobs, it may be necessary to get your foot in the door by dedicating time to job shadowing or volunteering free time to learn new skills. Once you do land a job in your desired field you should also be open to a potential pay cut.
- Take informational interviews seriously! Here, I must give a hat-tip to Seattle PR pro, Lauri Hennessey. She wrote a post on this subject that resonated deeply with me, mostly because it captured my thoughts on the subject perfectly. Point being, do your research on the person you’re interviewing with and their firm, prepare some questions, take notes, and have a specific request for them related to your search.
- It’s all about the follow-up. After you meet people – either socially or at informational interviews – be sure to stay in touch by giving them periodic updates through short, personal emails. Even if they don’t reply, just think of it as a one-way communication. It’s a way for you to say, “Hey I’m still out here looking, and I’d appreciate you keeping me in mind.” They will.
Finding a new job or changing careers can be a long slog. Measure success by your level of activity and stay positive! It will happen.