With the holiday season coming to an end, and the new year right around the corner, you might be setting some New Year’s goals and resolutions for yourself. While some people want to eat less fast food or make their beds every morning, you might have bigger things on your mind, like switching careers or leaving a current job that makes you unhappy.
There’s no time like the present to kickstart the life you want, but if waiting for a big moment to change is your speed, now is that moment. If going to the office is a drag, or you just don’t enjoy what you’re doing, get out of it and spark the change you want to see!
Consider the following tips to help get you on the path to the career you want for yourself in 2020…
1) Do Your Research
Take some time and look into different things you might be interested in. Whether that’s similar to what you do now or pursuing a passion that has been reserved for when you get home from the usual 9-5.
Start by writing down what you like about your current job, and dislike, from there you can start building a list of qualities you’ll be looking for. If you can separate these, it will help you have a clear path in mind about the qualities, or topics you enjoy and what ultimately drove you to look for something new and fresh. Try your best to not just focus on the negatives of your current state. It’s likely you enjoy a few aspects of your current job, even the activities that seem monotonous.
If you’re just looking to find a new company, or want to switch industries completely, head over to a site like a Glassdoor to get a feel for positions that are open, stack a salary against another, and learn other industry insights about your potential future employer. There are other platforms you can do research on, including the company’s website or social media, this will help give you a feel of what they stand for, and their culture, which we’ll touch on a little later.
Additionally, reaching out to people on platforms like LinkedIn, or talking to friends in the industry will give you great inside information on what they do day-to-day. Not only will this give you helpful information about what to expect in certain roles, but they will be more likely to tell you the truth instead of the rehearsed recruiter pitch. When reaching out to people, try bringing something of value to the table. Whether you offer to take them for coffee or begin by complimenting a recent project they just completed. Try your best to stay away from directly asking them for a job, or how to apply, save that until the end when you reach out.
Remember, you are still in the discovery phase and want to keep your options and opinions open.
2) Perfect Your Resume
A resume that stands out could be your ticket into your dream job. We aren’t just talking color or design, but the content should be relevant to the position you’re looking to apply for. When applying for multiple positions across several industries, it’s not uncommon to have several different resumés and cover letters. Each resumé should be tailored uniquely to the position you’re pursuing. Even if the same experiences are listed on each, the tasks, or how it pertains to the position you’re applying for might change.
Your cover letter, though not always required on applications is a good idea to have. This is a chance for you to show your personality a little bit, communicate why you want the job, and touch on a few highlights in your resume. The cover letter should be different for each application and reflect the job description relatively closely. For example, if some of the requirements include time-management, 2+ years of experience and communication skills, it’s wise to include those impactful words in the cover letter and relate how you hold these qualities and can bring the hiring manager value.
Many hiring managers opt for a resumé that’s one page as this allows them to look it over quickly, so there’s probably no reason to include the summer job you had in high school if you’ve had your current job for a while. If managers are flipping through dozens of resumes a day, you’ll want your important information to stick out. Whether that’s your name, a big-name reference, or a well-known past employer. Finding a way for your resumé to pop out of the crowd is vital to be noticed.
If designing a new resumé is out of your wheelhouse, or you haven’t worried about it in years, consider talking to a career coach to get some pointers and have them help you word it concisely while also making an impact. Just remember that crafting your resumé should be done at home so the coworkers at your current job don’t get suspicious and alert your manager.
Remember, your resume should reflect you in a positive light, so include some of your best highlights, and don’t be afraid to brag a bit, this isn’t the time to be modest!
3) Check the Culture
Whether you want to move to a new industry completely, or just want a company change, odds are that the place you go will be different than what you’re used to. Understanding a company’s culture will give you vital insight into what your future day-to-day could look like.
Here’s one place you can find a drastic improvement from your current position. If your current job is stiff and quiet, maybe you would benefit from a louder, more energetic work environment. Culture is one of the biggest buzzwords in the business world relating to jobs, and for good reason.
A great culture can make work fun and enjoyable, but spotting a poor culture can be tricky. Stay on the lookout for signs during your interview like a sullen office atmosphere, or ask for tips about what the office environment is like from others who have worked there.
Some ways to get a feel for the culture is to ask probing questions like “So what do people do together outside of work?” A positive office culture might have an answer like “All of our coworkers go to Happy Hour together on Friday afternoons.” A poor culture answer might reply with “We just work together, that’s it.” We’re sure you could make a better judgment after answers like that!
Aside from how people interact, understanding a company’s culture can also give you a clue about how to dress for the interview to ensure you make a great first impression. If you’re interviewing for a position at a law firm, odds are you aren’t going to show up in a Hawaiian shirt. The same can be said for a company that has a younger workforce that dresses in business casual. Understanding the culture will allow you to go in and look like them, showing the hiring manager, and current employees you’re comfortable in the setting and allowing them to focus on you and your skills, rather than your dress.
Being comfortable from the start is also a sign of a company with a great culture. A welcoming, inviting office scene might be a breath of fresh air if you’re coming from a company set on competition and secretively trying to outdo coworkers.
4) Talk to Family
Hunting for a job can be stressful, but what’s worse is when you aren’t happy. The last thing you want to do is bottle up your emotions, as this can lead you to stress over even the tiniest of challenges. If you’re reading this still, odds are you aren’t happy you’re your current job, so don’t let those feelings stack up. Instead, lean on the family when making big decisions for advice, and to just vent how you feel overall.
Whether it’s an initial conversation about what’s on your mind, or further down the line when you’re in a position to choose between a few options, don’t ignore your emotions. Instead, let your trusted friends and family take some weight off your shoulders, who knows, they could have some great ideas!
Not only will this make the decision a little easier on yourself, but they could have different perspectives which could turn you on to even better paths to look into. By opening up to them, you could inspire them to do the same and set them on a path for something better as well.
5) Get in a New Routine
Whether it be working out in the morning, or going to bed earlier, if you focus on things other than just a new job, you’re less likely to become stressed out by keeping yourself busy. So go ahead and try picking up a new routine to care for your body and mind during this stressful time. And, for some people, habits can be formed in just a couple weeks so it won’t take long before a little self-care fits naturally into your day.
As you develop new habits, try applying them to the career you want and find different ways they can help you get you where you want to go. Maybe you’re interested in getting into a new industry; find a skill relevant to your potential job, and start practicing it daily in your own life.
For example, if you need to strengthen your leadership skills, consider looking for volunteer positions with the opportunity to mentor or manage teams. Not only will this help you weed out what you like/dislike in a role, but it will also show a hiring manager that you’re taking the time and initiative to learn about the demands of the position for which you’re applying.
Regardless of the career, you choose, or what you want to do in 2020, picking your own happiness is of the utmost importance. Understanding the process of how to go about changing jobs can be a winding road, but stay true to your goal and you’ll get there!
No one point is greater than the other, and they will all help you take the steps towards being happier. As you traverse the roads of changing careers. Or industries in general, you’ll likely find some good practices of your own.
So whether it’s doing thorough research on different companies, or new industries, or dusting off your resumé, make sure you take your time on each phase. Culture can be the make or break of discovering new company’s and is likely one of the biggest reasons you want to leave your current job. Culture comes down to how people interact with each other inside and out of the office and what type of environment you can expect each day. The culture will reflect on your overall mood and happiness even more so than the work you do.
At the end of the day, you want to walk into a place where you will be surrounded by people who are supportive, and you don’t mind spending 40 hours a week with them. If you can find this while also doing something you love, you’re setting yourself up for a great career.
Leaning on family and friends will help take the pressure of the situation while also opening you up to new thoughts. You know yourself better than anyone, but people who see you in a professional environment, or at home might key you into some things you don’t know or wouldn’t necessarily think about when it comes to you. Say for example you might not be a morning person, they could suggest you find a company with flexible work hours, which would be an awesome plus.
Regardless of what career path you choose, be sure to reflect on what has gotten you to the point that you’re at now, and understand it’s going to take time, emotions, and tough decisions to get you to where you aspire.
By following these tips, and cultivating a few of your own, there’s no doubt you will be on your way to being happier and more fulfilled in your career!