Are you one of the many people working in a job you dislike? The economy is beginning to recover, you’re thinking about making a change, and you hear about an opportunity: should you jump at it?
Change happens; successful careers don’t. Your new job has to be more than a knee-jerk reaction to an employer you dislike. Rather than just representing yet another job, and the likelihood of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, your next move should be a strategic one, made with careful planning and encompassing the widest possible array of choices. That is how strategic career choices happen.
Job Search Strategy
Make the commitment to look for the right opportunity, and set a plan in motion to make it happen, but don’t be precipitate. Take the time to build a firm foundation for a successful transition, and while you build, commit yourself making a real difference at your current job. The days will go more quickly, and you will be able to interview for that dream job with greater confidence and more pride in your professionalism.
Build a Job Search Database
Strategic career moves only become realities when you pursue the best possible jobs at the best possible companies in your target location. You start by getting a clear focus on the next job you want: a job in which you can succeed, prosper, and grow professionally.
You get hired for new jobs based on your credentials, not your potential, and so your next job is likely to carry a similar title to the one you hold today, although its scope may be different. Determine a target job, and research job postings and employers in your target area; in the process, start building a database that includes both job descriptions and company profiles.
The easiest way to start building a comprehensive database of local employers and jobs is to register at a number of relevant job sites and create profiles that define your needs. You will then automatically receive e-mail notification of matching jobs. These job openings will form the basis of a comprehensive database of companies in your area that hire people like you. You will add to it by regularly visiting the websites of companies you identify, collecting additional job
postings that reflect your target job.
Your ability to find jobs throughout your career depends on the desirability of your skill-set. So, as you collect job postings, cross-reference the skills, licenses, and accreditations to see which are in the widest demand, and therefore could increase your marketability. Then take the time to develop these in-demand skills.
Build Profession-Specific Networks
Networking can be the most effective way to find professional opportunities, assuming of course that you have built networks relevant to your career needs. You goal is to know and be known by all the players in your profession, industry, and location. To achieve this goal, you should build three primary networks:
- Join your school’s alumni association for a network of people in your profession at all levels of experience.
- Join the local chapter of a professional association that has monthly meetings within driving distance. Go to the meetings and get to know and be known by the best-connected and most committed people in your profession and area.
- Join LinkedIn. Then join at least two special interest groups: one that caters to people in your profession and another in job search/career management, like the Knock ’em Dead Secrets & Strategies group.
Look for and connect with people who hold the same job title, because these people are most able connect you with opportunities. And connect with those who hold job titles one, two, and three levels above your own, because these are the people who will have the authority to hire you. Become a part of your professional community now, before you need to ask for referrals or introductions.
Upgrade Your Resume
Your resume is the most financially important document you will ever own. When it works, you work; when it doesn’t, you don’t. Your old resume simply won’t cut it in the new world of work, so you need to learn how to write one that will work, or find a reputable resume writer to craft one for you. Invest the time to do this properly.
Making Your Move
When you are fully prepared to take that next step on your career path, you will be confident in your skills, have a great resume, a thorough knowledge of the corporate players in your marketplace, and numerous ways of reaching hiring managers directly.
Take these actions and you will be able to make a strategic career move that serves long-term goals.
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