Looking for a new job? Want to advance your skills, travel the world or achieve personal and professional goals? Make this year the year you shake up your career.
What do you really want? Are your expectations realistic? You can find out whether the career you’re passionate about is really for you by asking some hard questions such as:
· Why do I want to leave my current job – and will a new role fix the problem?
· Am I ready for a new job – do I have a good support network, and am I able to support myself if I need time out of work for training/job-hunting?
· What do I need from a new job, so that it challenges me and enables me to fulfil my personal and professional goals?
· Does this role suit my current abilities, or will I be able to develop my current abilities to fit this role?
The most important question of all is: Does this career provide what I really want from my personal and professional life? If the answer is a definite yes, start your job search.
When you have decided you want to leave your current position, you don’t need to check out straight away. Your existing role could help propel you in a new direction if you take full advantage of the reputation, skills and knowledge you have already built. Work hard, take on new responsibilities and network to make full use of your connections, take up opportunities for training or building your skill set before you go, and ensure you leave with a positive reference that will help you for years to come.
When you know what you really want, work out what you must do to get there. Make a plan and stick to it. Write out everything you need to do – research, create a CV, apply for roles, connect with potential employers or recruiters – and outline exactly what needs to be done, how and by when, at every stage. Treat job hunting like a second job to maximise your likelihood of finding the right career for you.
No one is better equipped to provide an insider view on your desired job role than someone who already works in this role or a similar position. Ask a trusted contact any difficult questions, find out what they love about their job and what they don’t, and ask what they wish they had known before they started in their job to help you get ahead in your journey.
If you don’t have any industry connections, LinkedIn is a great place to start. Create a profile if you don’t already have one, follow the company pages of recruitment agencies that specialise in your sector, and join relevant groups. LinkedIn groups provide a direct line of introduction to hundreds of thousands of people already working in your job or career. Like, share and comment on the challenges and questions they post on the group, and watch your online networks and industry knowledge grow.
Start ahead of the game by completing a relevant qualification or course before you begin working in your new career path. This could be academic, vocational or practical, from A Levels and part-time University degrees to NVQs and industry-specific licenses and certificates. Ensure you investigate whether your chosen vocation requires specific qualifications, and what is involved in obtaining these. For example, many Aerospace & Aviation jobs require Electricians and Avionics Engineers to complete courses in Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS), Fuel Tank Safety and Human Factors to comply with strict health and safety legislation.
If you haven’t yet decided on a structured career path, reach out to a careers advisor or coach who will be able to give you an objective view of your strengths and weaknesses. To avoid limiting your job options, take courses that are broader in nature. For example, if you know your strengths lie in communications, take a course around people management. If you are interested in architecture but not sure yet whether this is the right choice for you, take a more general design course to test your interest and aptitude. The skills you learn will be useful to you personally or professionally whether or not you go on to specialise in a relevant area and will leave your career path open for you.
Do your research to get an insight into what type of career path you could have in the next year, decade and even longer if you can. Ensure there is longevity in what you’re doing, and that your desired vocation will be in demand for the long-term. Many industries have skills shortages that will only worsen in the next decade: Aviation will need 800,000 pilots and 750,000 technicians in the next ten years, and Engineering is experiencing shortages of talent across design, technical and managerial positions.
If you want to work for one of the larger companies in your chosen industry, Glassdoor is a great place to research the employee experience. The employee review site enables real staff to leave real, unbiased reviews on what they like about their jobs and what they don’t. Glassdoor can provide an insight into what your best and worst days could look like in your chosen career, and help you identify whether the company benefits and points for improvement would suit your professional needs and goals.
Create an up-to-date CV listing your most relevant skills and achievements, to tailor your personal profile to roles that you apply for. Ask friends and trusted network connections to read through your CV and practice interview questions with you: they can provide honest feedback to help you prepare for difficult questions an interviewer might ask, and adapt accordingly.
Think about your soft skills and utilise these in job applications and interviews. Personality fit combined with strong communication abilities could prove advantageous over other more experienced candidates.
Once your CV contains everything you need to start applying for jobs, you can consider contacting a recruitment agency. There are 39,000 staffing agencies in the UK alone: many businesses choose to outsource recruitment to experts who specialise in their field, because they can guarantee a level of candidate quality.
Recruitment companies understand what skills and experiences businesses look for, what the role requires and what an excellent candidate looks like. Recruitment consultants will help you tailor your CV, prepare for interviews and give you expert advice to break into a new industry or vocation.
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