Millions of workers have resigned from their jobs over the past year, deciding that they need to make a change. Most are searching for new positions that align with their needs and values. In contrast, others have decided to switch careers entirely. No matter the reason behind your job hunt, I have some good (and bad) news for you.
The good news is that companies are offering employees more than ever before to attract, acquire and retain top talent. This is excellent from a negotiation standpoint as higher salaries, flexible schedules and increased perks and benefits are all on the table. However, there are countless candidates to choose from. So, even though the opportunities posted seem endless, competition for these positions is fierce. If you are looking to change your career, you can still land your dream position. It just requires some strategy on your part.
Do not search blindly.
When making a career change, your search must target one or two different positions — tops. Trust me when I say that you will get nowhere if you search for many different roles across numerous industries. Your LinkedIn profile and resume will not be targeted the way they should be, and you will be less focused when presenting yourself for any role. If you are unsure what you want to do moving forward, you need to take some time to assess.
• List out your hard and soft skills. First, list out all your hard skills (technical) and soft skills (transferable), noting what you enjoy doing and what you don’t — which is the foundation for choosing what new position or career interests you.
• Determine what your strengths play to. Take some time to search for roles that require these positions. Soft skills are just as essential — if not more critical — than technical skills for many roles. So, if you are transitioning into an entirely new industry or career, focusing on these is key.
• List your negotiables and non-negotiables. Group what you want from your next role into “non-negotiable” and “negotiable” categories. For example, a non-negotiable may be a flexible work schedule or working within the environmental industry. A negotiable may be the salary range or specific responsibilities associated with the role.
Prepare a transition statement.
While you may feel that your skills and experience relate to your new desired position, recruiters and hiring managers may not make the connection between your background and the role you are applying to — but a transition statement can help merge the gap.
A transition statement is a short explanation on your resume and LinkedIn profile that simply says, “I have experience in A, and I am looking to do B, and here is how it relates.” When including a transition statement, you are providing a recruiter or hiring manager the chance to view your candidacy in context — rather than making a snap judgment based on your background (that isn’t an exact match).
An example transition statement could be:
Marketing Manager with 10-plus years of experience, delivering integrated marketing campaigns that capture markets and generate growth and revenue. Motivated to transition into a Business Development role, utilizing exceptional marketing, communication and client-relationship skills to further sales objectives within the Medical Device industry.
Craft the perfect resume.
As you apply to positions, keep in mind that being targeted with your approach is vital for your applications, so you need to customize your resume for each job application you submit. This means adjusting your skills, experience and accomplishments to match that of the job description.
More and more companies are using applicant tracking systems to sort through and rank resumes of interest — especially now with the volume of applications they are receiving. The higher your resume scores, the better your chance of an interview, which is why customization is needed. In addition, I recommend using a template with minimal formatting and limiting your work history to 10 to 15 years max.
Do not underestimate the power of networking.
Because the job market is saturated with candidates, many positions are filled through referrals. It is vital to strengthen your online and in-person network by optimizing your LinkedIn profile, attending networking events and speaking with those you know. This is another reason why being targeted with your job search is integral to your success.
To network effectively, consider having a short pitch that you can use when meeting people and discussing your professional goal. Building on the example listed above:
I have been interested in transitioning into a sales position for quite some time. I have more than 10 years of experience in marketing — creating strategic campaigns that engage customers and achieve goals. I believe my background within marketing transfers seamlessly into a business development role, and I am excited about a new opportunity.
As you begin this season of change, be open to opportunities you may not have considered before. The early part of my career was in interior design. If you had told me that I would become a leading career strategist and job search expert, I would have never believed it. But now, after more than a decade of experience and thousands of satisfied clients, I can genuinely say I am living my dream. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”