Preparing for a Career Change

Preparing for a Career Change

So you think you are ready to make the jump and switch careers or companies. In today’s world, according to the Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median length of tenure for workers 25 to 34 is 3.2 years. Another study shows that 93% of all workers left their employer when they changed jobs. And this isn’t a bad thing. It often means you’re growing and learning new skills, ready to take on additional challenges. However, If you’ve been out of the job market for any period of time, this can feel daunting.

So where do you start? There are several steps you can take before you even commit to leaving.

Identify the reasons why you are looking for a change. Instead of rushing into the next opportunity, think about why you want to leave your current role. Some common reasons include growth opportunities, compensation and benefits, change in role, and current company culture. According to the Harvard Business Review, different generations often look for different things when applying for a job.

  • Start to prepare a resume. This doesn’t have to be scary; I suggest starting with a bulleted list of your key achievements and going from there. Don’t worry about the format until the end. And the whole “keep it to 1 page” is a myth. You can always shorten it later, but it’s better to get your skills down on paper and then tailor each resume to the position you are applying to.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile. Having an up to date and robust LinkedIn profile is a great way to let opportunities find you. You can use bullets from your resume and even go into the LinkedIn settings and select “Open to New Opportunities” – which is a field hidden to anyone at your company and only accessible to recruiters.
  • Have an idea about what you need to make in terms of salary and benefits.  Sometimes making a lateral move for more upside down the road is something to consider, while other times you are looking to climb the ladder. Use sites like Glassdoor to get an idea of what your skill set is worth.
  • Reach out to a reputable staffing firm. They will keep your job search confidential and be able to tell you things like which companies are hiring, if your salary range is reasonable, and how desirable your skill set is in your current market. Staffing firms also see which companies turn people over and are often a good resource to learn more about the culture of a company.
  • Build your network. A strong network can be a powerful tool when looking for a job and nobody has to know you’re in the market. Pick interest or industry related groups where you can connect with likeminded people. You’ll be able to learn more about who works where and often about what they think of their company. When the time comes to officially start applying, it’s great to have an inside reference or referral.

Bottom Line: Job changes don’t have to be scary if you are prepared. These simple steps will help ensure that you get the most out of your search.