Jan 22 2016
You've resolved to make a career transition and find a new position this year. Congratulations on taking the risk involved in finding more fulfillment in your career. Given the complexities of the job market, it is important to do your due diligence and fully explore your options to ensure a positive transition in the least amount of time to maintain your confidence, which is key to your success. Here are some key points to consider:
Know yourself and your personal brand:
Assessments: This is an excellent time to do some self exploration to be sure your career goals are in synch with your specific options. If you have never taken a personality assessment, the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) or one of its derivatives can be an interesting exercise to help you understand how your personality and interests are related to your work style and specific career options. In considering what direction to go, it’s possible that your need to make a career change may be more related to your work environment than your actual function. For example, let's say you're a Sales Executive in the technology field and not finding your work fulfilling. A personality test may reveal that you are more of a feeling type, which is an indicator that you need to have work that is personally fulfilling and enables you to make a difference. With this insight, you could consider continuing your work in sales, but it a different environment, such as doing development work for a foundation or promoting a product that benefits people directly, such as healthcare.
Personal Brand: In learning more about your strengths, you should use this opportunity to assess your personal brand. What do you do better than anything else, and how does it bring value to your current or future employer? In evaluating possibilities, be sure to consult with others who know you well, especially former employers, friends and family, to get additional perspectives. Discovering your unique value proposition can help you in evaluating options by focusing on the specific industries or companies that would benefit from your expertise and personal brand.
Conduct research to identify the "best fit":
Target companies: Research companies to identify those whose mission reflect your values and personal brand. The "feeler" personality, discussed above, would want to consider service organizations, nonprofits, or specific businesses that brand themselves as "giving back" to the community through philanthropic efforts. Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can use job boards to identify specific positions within your desired industry or target company that represent options and provide keywords for your resume. However, do not rely on applying online to get interviews, and be aware that recruiters will not be your best strategy as they are looking for an exact match candidate, not someone transitioning from another field or function.
Informational interviews: Recognize the importance of using proactive job search strategies to find your new position. Up to 30 percent of newly filled positions are created for specific candidates based on mutual need and/or rapport from a face-to-face meeting or a referral. Identify people in your "best fit" companies and do informational interviews to identify where your skills and experience would fit. Prepare a three to five minute pitch to let them know what you've done and what you are interesting in doing. Explore specific needs and challenges and present yourself in terms of how you can bring value by sharing your personal brand and achievements.
Making a career transition offers a unique opportunity to learn more about yourself and position yourself in a more fulfilling role to make an impact and achieve your desired career goals. By discovering what you bring to the table and matching that up with a specific organization's needs, you will maximize your opportunities for finding the right fit that will ensure career fulfillment and position you for future career growth and success.
Our BlueSteps Career Services team includes highly qualified coaches who can help you with every phase of your transition – from assessments through branding, career research, informational interviewing, and active job search. Let us help you move to the career you want where you can make a difference!
The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Advanced Job Search
As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to: