The last couple of months have been an interesting and challenging experience for the entire world. We’ve felt it impact our ability and/or desire to transition to new roles within our company or switch new careers entirely. Countless people have lost jobs and many sense tension within their organizations, making them feel they should be studying the job market and keeping their options open. When considering embarking on a job search, it is critical to think about the whole process of working towards finding a new role. This post walks you through five tangible tips on how to transition jobs during a national pause.
The Personal Assessment: First, and arguably most important, is to do a personal assessment of what it is you actually would like to do. It’s helpful to take a step back and think about your career. What are you passionate about and what do you love about what you already do? What made you choose the path that you are on? While you consider these questions, think about what you know substantively and industry-wise. What is it that other companies need? Is there an opportunity for continued education in your field to further specialize in your career? Make a list of the top five “things” you would like to have in your next role. Once you get to a place where you know the answers to most of these questions, then you can start making steps toward movement.
In order to take these next steps, it’s important to be disciplined. Treat finding a new role like your day job! Successful transitions require a lot of energy, so you will need to set aside both time and brain space.
The Resume and LinkedIn: Once you know what you’re looking for in your next role and have made the conscious decision to make a move, you’ll need to update your resume and your LinkedIn page. It’s essential that both are consistent to one another. When thinking about your resume, understand who will be reading it and what your career goals are. The content of your resume should mirror your career goals. Aesthetically speaking, your resume should be clean: succinct, no colors, no photos and no big paragraphs. Don’t assume that the reader of your resume knows what you do; explain succinctly what it is you do. Give specific examples of projects or accomplishments in each of your previous positions. Use keywords in the bullet points - if you want to be a product counsel you should emphasize the product work you’ve done and the word “product” should be in your resume.
As for your LinkedIn, it should be nearly identical to your resume. Management teams generally look at both and you need to show consistency in content and dates. Make sure you have a professional picture on your profile. Avoid photos with others or photos that aren’t business-focused.
Professional Summaries on resumes and LinkedIn entries are a great way to weave your substantive expertise with your management experience and soft skills. Summaries should indicate who you are more broadly versus a summary of the specific positions you have held.
Your Marketing and Networking Plan: Once your resume and LinkedIn have been updated, you’re ready to begin marketing and advertising yourself to your network and extended network. Make a list of everyone you know personally and professionally that could assist in your job search. Create a spreadsheet of your social contacts (former classmates, peers, friends), your business contacts (former co-workers, clients, partners, people who know your work product) and third degree connections (friends of friends or your spouses ex-colleagues). Track who you reach out to, their contact information, potential roles, referrals and calendar follow ups.
In addition to your networking list, create a list of all the companies that you find interesting while in the geographically in which you’d like to work. For example, do you have limitations on commuting? Would you like to find a job in a different location? Scroll through your company list and research on LinkedIn to see if there is someone at each company you’re connected to that you could contact. At the same time, see if they have any open positions on their jobs page that look interesting. Be thoughtful in your reach out and introduction; ask to connect with them about what they do for the company. Avoid sending generic blanket emails to people you do not know personally. Try to meet the folks you might be connected to in person or via Zoom. You will leave a lasting impression by introducing yourself face to face. When asking for this meeting, give them dates to choose from – this is more direct and pushes them to pencil you in or provide an alternative date. Example: I would love to connect with you live, or on the phone about what you do for *blank* company. Are you available on July 16 at 3pm or July 17 at noon? After you’ve met with someone, show your appreciation by sending a thank you note or offer to help them in some way.
Your Presentation: Once you start to reach out and leverage your network, it is important to master your personal presentation. Write out your elevator pitch and practice it out loud. Your elevator pitch should be concise – showcasing your strengths, your passion, your value-add, and your purpose. Before you go into any meeting – interview or networking meeting, make sure you’ve studied the company and the backgrounds of the folks you’ll be meeting. This shows enthusiasm for both the role and the company, and frankly that you care. Come prepared with questions that show you understand their business model, position in the industry, etc. Give clear, concise answers to their questions and be sure to actually answer the question asked. Many of our clients indicate candidates don’t truly answer the questions they ask. An interview allows you to prove that you are capable of the role, while also demonstrating that you are positive, flexible, open-minded, genuine, and enthusiastic.
The Right State of Mind: A job search takes discipline, energy, tenacity, and grit. You need to be in the right state of mind to show up well and be successful in this process. Reflect on your past experiences and recognize where you want to go. Take the time to refresh your resume and LinkedIn page so that when you’ve found a position that interests you, you’re ready to apply. Use your networking and research skills as a way to source information, so that you can discover new potential career paths. Come up with a pitch that explains who you are, why you are transitioning to a new career, and showcases your energy and value-add. Prepare for your interview so that you can put your best foot forward. Most importantly, do what you can to stay positive, as challenging as it may be during this uncertain times.