As the founder of a career mentorship platform for women, I spend my days speaking with people who want to change careers but aren’t interested in starting over. They’re terrified that taking risks might mean losing everything they’ve achieved. They agonize about explaining “gaps” on their resume during an interview or at networking events.
Lucky for them (and you), I have good news: changing careers doesn’t mean sacrificing your past. It means building from the experience you have and leveraging that in a strategic way.
What’s more? There’s a simple (seriously, it’s four steps) way to incorporate both your career change and past experience into your elevator pitch. It’s the perfect solution to that dreaded question: “So, what do you do?” for those of us who, frankly, have done a whole lot.
It’s hard to find someone whose life consists solely of their 9-to-5. Most people have a wide range of interests beyond their day jobs. And thanks to social media and the Internet, it’s easy find ways to dabble in something new. You might even discover a passion that turns into a full-time career. Regardless of the type of interest you decide to pursue, having a side project outside of work has a number of social, professional, and personal benefits—here are a few:
By this point, you probably have a LinkedIn profile and are familiar with how to use the site. You’ve filled out the profile requirements and made sure your LinkedIn presence is professional and polished (and if you’re super on top of it, you might have added a cover photo!), but can you say your profile is recruiter-friendly?
It’s a great idea to invest some time in optimizing your LinkedIn profile specifically for recruiters, because many companies use a tool called LinkedIn Recruiter to search for candidates via keywords, location, industry and a number of other parameters. I know this because I was a recruiter for a number of years, and LinkedIn Recruiter and I were BFFs. Plus, with 250+ million users, you can see why recruiters use this tool A LOT.
Landed an interview at a company? Congrats! Dedicated time to research the role and prepare questions to ask your interviewer? Smart! Assuming they will let you know what happens next? Nope.
Following up after your meeting matters almost as much as the interview itself, and yet many people opt to do nothing for fear of making the wrong move.
But doing nothing is the wrong move because it increases your chances of being forgotten. With the right tactics, you will stay top of mind, and impress the hiring manager.
These five tips will help you follow up tactfully and effectively after your next interview:
One of the easiest things you can do is plan out what you’re going to do “when you’re ready.” You’ll start freelancing, you think, when you’ve acquired enough skills at your day job. You’ll learn a new skill when you’ve sufficiently conquered all of the prerequisite skills that build up to it. You’ll apply for a new job once you’ve accumulated enough relevant experience at this one.
There is an overwhelming amount of advice out there for job seekers, but what about advice for those looking to advance in their current jobs? Back when the economy tanked and so many people were suddenly looking for work, the focus on career advancement took a backseat to finding a job. Now that the economy is stabilizing, it makes sense to also focus on how to succeed once you land the job.
Whether you’re a recent grad, about to re-enter the workforce, or just ready for a change, trying to pinpoint what job to pursue is never an easy task. We all arrive at a phase in our job hunt where we need to work through this process. It can be overwhelming, but these four exercises will help you get there.
Lauren McGoodwin, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Career Contessa
Feeling unmotivated by your 9-to-5? Do you live for the weekends and in perpetual fear of Monday morning? Constantly wondering if you’d be better off doing something else? If you answered yes to (let’s face it) all of these questions, I’m officially diagnosing you with a case of the dreaded career rut.
Whether you’re seriously stuck or just battling a summer daze, it’s tough to power through 40+ hours a week when you’re not loving the day-to-day; which is why I’ve created a step-by-step plan to help you get unstuck and move forward with your career.