The Best Practices For Career Transitions

You’re ready – or beyond ready – to make a change in your career. No matter what the reason, making a career change and starting a job search feel overwhelming. The process takes time, effort, practice and patience. The tips below provide a solid framework for you to build your search efforts around:

1. Take a personal inventory. Seek to be self aware and take a personal inventory to better understand your values, strengths, weaknesses, personality style, how you work best, and what you want to contribute to the world through your career or vocation.

2. Know what you want. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Knowing what you’re looking for impacts your ability to network and interview effectively. Your efforts can be focused more efficiently, and you’ll do your network, friends and mentors a favor by making it easier for them to help you.

3. Seek feedback, find mentors and seek more feedback. While this may seem obvious, the reason is worth discussing. You don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and it’s difficult to objectively take a step back from yourself, your resume, the perceptions you have of own experiences and the way you articulate them. Getting feedback allows you to validate that your message to potential employers resonates. Feedback is vitally important when you take your personal inventory, write your resume, prepare for interviews and negotiate job offers.

4. Shake out cobwebs and get engaged. Its typical when out of work or during a career impasse to feel frustrated, stuck in a rut or that you’ve lost your “mojo”. To push though this, get moving. Don’t overthink what you’re going to do. Just do it. Get more engaged in something you are already involved in such as a group, club or organization. If you’re not involved in things, do something that you enjoy that provides ample opportunities to engage with other people. Share your story when you can. You may find support in new and unexpected places.

5. Create a new, personal brand (elevator pitch, tell me about you, networking style). Your brand represents what you put out into the world. While you may not have a logo like Apple, inc. or Target (although you could), your brand is visible to the world through your resume, LinkedIn and other social media profiles. It’s also visible by the way you carry yourself on the job, in meetings and in interviews. You want your brand to express the kind of experience, values and track record that people in your network and employers want to buy.

6. Network. If getting a job is all about who you know, then what are you waiting for? Networking is important, but it should be considered a ‘practice’ instead of an activity. Networking is not necessarily easier for extroverts, it can just seem that way. Change your paradigm that networking requires forced business discussions between people who are trying to get something. Natural networking is easier and more genuine. Find or create natural opportunities to learn about others and talk to them about your career and what you’re looking to do. Be interested in them. You’ll learn more than you can imagine about what they do and who they know. Practice enough, and you’ll create a “butterfly effect” toward landing your next role.

7. Be vulnerable and surround yourself with support. There is good reason to feel vulnerable during the job search. Whether you’re out of work due to a layoff, or still in your role and thriving, the act of starting a job search or exploring a career change can trigger feelings of shame, guilt and fear. It also can trigger feelings of relief, excitement and joy. Either way, it’s a vulnerable time and it’s important to have support from friends, family, trusted colleagues, mentors and coaches to get the feedback, accountability, validation and support you need.