As we all navigate this new pandemic reality, it’s extremely important to stay flexible and open minded.
Flexibility will be an increasingly critical skill for job seekers moving forward.
To be more flexible (and less rigid in your thinking), start by assessing your transferable skills more broadly. We all tend to think about our skills as they relate to past jobs and our current career. However, by thinking more broadly, you’re able to greatly expand your job opportunities.
The skills assessment worksheet is a great resource for identifying your transferable skills.
If you’re ready for a change of pace or your last job was in an industry hit hard by the pandemic, for example, start thinking about how you can leverage those same skills in a completely different industry.
It’s intimidating to move into an unfamiliar field. But consider the new experiences and opportunities you’ll gain.
Taking the leap and shifting industries could be an extremely beneficial career move, not just for your income, but for your own sense of fulfillment and job satisfaction.
But you have to take that first step.
Assess Your Career Priorities
As an exercise, take the job titles off your resume and really analyze what you did and the skills you have gained. The organizational abilities of a schoolteacher, for example, transfer very well into project management. Someone who worked in the entertainment industry likely has skills that translate into the customer experience space. You get the idea.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself. Most people are much more versatile than they realize.
Next, decide what’s most important to you right now. For example:
- Will you take any job that pays well enough to create a financial cushion?
- Are you focused on finding a job that can provide consistency and stability for the next several years?
- Do you seek a job that will build up your skills and prepare you for the next move?
- Are you open to contract work that might lead to something full time later?
- Or are you taking the time to find the perfect professional position?
Once you’ve dialed in your priorities, create a list of potential industries to consider that mesh with your existing skills and the skills you hope to learn in the future. Don’t just make one plan. In our current circumstances, you need a plan A, B, and C.
Next, start attending webinars, joining virtual conferences, and even seeking volunteer opportunities in those industries to see if they are a good match.
At the same time, dive into networking. Talk with professionals working in those industries. Ask them to share their story and insights. Start building a list of new skills and credentials that might help you secure a position.
LinkedIn can be a very effective research and networking tool, when used correctly.
Get Your Personal Brand in Order
It takes time and effort, but you must brand yourself online to be highly relevant and appealing to the industry or industries you choose to pursue.
Google yourself. What comes up?
This is one of the first things many hiring managers do when considering an applicant.
If you have social media accounts, make sure they represent your level of professionalism and character.
Create a rock-solid e-portfolio to showcase your work and really help you stand out from other applicants. Your portfolio should delight, inspire, and prove to potential employers that you’ve got what it takes – and more. How you build it will depend upon your profession. Do your research. Include concrete and visual examples of your career accomplishments. This might be charts, graphs, articles or whitepapers you’ve written (or co-written), detailed descriptions of projects you’ve done (and the outcome of those projects), blog posts and pictures of you doing community outreach, etc.
Once you’ve spruced up your social media, polished your personal brand, catalogued your transferable skills, and looked at your options more broadly, you can begin to bring it down to more specific company targets.
Don’t just aim for the big fish.
Figure out which larger companies you’re interested in and look for mid-sized or smaller companies that have a similar product/service. Part of your plan might be to network your way into one of these smaller companies because you’ll have less competition.
If you’d like to learn more about creating specific company lists and how to maximize the value of networking (including informational interviews), I highly recommend the book The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.
The CSU Career Center also has some additional resources on The 2-Hour Job Search from a talk that Steve did at CSU.
Questions? Need some help?
Email me at Angela.Hayes@colostate.edu for more information about available resources.