Are you happy with where you are in your career? Do you want to make more money or get that promotion you’ve been dreaming about?
If you’re like me, you’re always thinking about the next stage in your career, but what are you doing about it?
It’s easy to dream about the ideal job, however making the necessary steps to achieve it is much more difficult.
I’ve found that it is important to have a plan that is specific as possible for it to be successful. You cannot say that you just want a better job. Without specifics, you do not know what “better” looks like and where to find it.
Below I’ve laid out the steps necessary to follow to help you take your career to the next level.
Make a plan
Where are you going? You can’t begin a journey without knowing the destination, well, at least you shouldn’t. The first thing you can do to ensure you are getting the most out of your careers is to know your career plan. Is this what you want to do with your career? Are you in the right company, department, or even the right field?
Take a step back. Do some Netflix and chilling. Figuring out where you are in your career is important. You need to know if you should look for a new career or learn how to advance in your current career.
When you know that you are in a career that you love, it is easier to know what to do to advance it.
If you’re in the wrong career…
Your Situation is Hopeless!!
That’s more common than you might imagine. However, different steps are required to get you in the right field.
Switching careers is usually a much longer process. The first step is identifying what you want to do.
Next, you need to evaluate your credentials and experience and see if you qualify for a job in that field.
- Will you have to go back to school?
- Do you have transferable skills that will get you into this new profession?
If you have the credentials to make the transition, then continue onto the next step.
If your new career move is going to be more involved, take the necessary steps to get the credentials and then continue to the next step.
Revamp Your Resume
Just like spring cleaning, every new year take the time and look at your current resume. See where improvements can be made or if you should start over.
You may have changed jobs or taken on additional responsibilities. Now is the time to be sure those changes are reflected in your resume.
The direction of your career will also have an impact on how your update your resume for the new year. Switching career paths requires more specialized changes to your resume.
The individual bullets need to be tailored to highlight accomplishments that are relevant to the career you are aiming for. Any change to your resume should involve updating the accomplishment bullets.
It is always good to review your accomplishment bullets to keep them effective and concise. See our full guidance here.
When this resume is complete, this will just serve as your base resume. It is still important to cater your resume to each position that you apply for.
The application tracking system for your target company is going to try to match words or phrases from the target job’s description to your experience. The more matches it finds then the more of a fit you will appear to the system.
Join a Career-Centric Organization
Another effective way to advance your career is to join an organization centered around your target career. It is smart to network with people in your target industry. Joining an organization full of people in your target industry or company is one of the fastest ways to do that.
If you do not work in a department with a lot of people from your target industry, you may not be able to rely on your work connection.
Networking in organizations outside of work is going to be the easiest way to make those connections.
Aside from the networking, these groups can help you understand more about the industry. You may get insight into issues or news affecting the industry that would be helpful to know.
There are a number of local organizations that focus on specific careers. These organizations cultivate an environment where people can share information relevant to the industry. If there is not a local organization that you can join, you should be able to find a virtual one.
A number of career organizations exist on LinkedIn or will have private Facebook groups. Research these groups and see if there are relevant ones that you can join.
The existing group members usually share articles or have conversations relevant to the industry. When you get an interview in your target industry, you will be able to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry.
Learn a New Skill
In the new economy, credentials are very important, but increasingly important is your particular set of skills (in my Liam Neeson voice). Having an MBA from a top school may get the attention of many recruiters, but that is not always enough.
Most of us did not have the privilege of going to a top 20 school, so we cannot rely on our educational credentials to move ahead. We have to show that we have the knowledge through the post graduate training and real world application.
Companies hire people to solve a problem or to satisfy a need. The faster you can take a new hire out of the training stage and into the production stage, the better.
Possessing experience with a new software or a programming language may be enough to stand out from the competition. If you are already familiar with the software the company uses, you will be more valuable to a potential employer.
Where to Get These Mad Skillz
Learning the skills necessary to advance in your career has never been easier. With online solutions such as Lynda.com, Udemy and Coursera it is easy to find the time and the money to take training courses.
Each website offers numerous classes on varying topics from software to photography. Many courses are offered in common software such as Excel, or programming languages like SQL or HTML.
The skills that remain in high demand tend to change slightly over time. Even if you attended a great school, you will eventually need to learn some new software or skill.
It is smart to always evaluate the relevance of your skill set every year. Now you have a way to keep those skills up to date.
Evaluate your career
Make a plan
Revamp your resume
Join an organization
Learn some skills
Follow these steps and you will be on your way to your dream job.
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Also published on Medium.